ST. PAUL - A bill that would fund agriculture and rural development needs for the next two years is on its way to Governor Dayton’s desk for his signature. State Representative Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake) sponsored the legislation.
“Ag finance proposals have always been the least controversial spending proposals in the budget, yet this year Governor Dayton is playing politics with the bill, and that’s disheartening for every single person in this state,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton outlined how budget talks on this proposal with Governor Dayton deteriorated in just two days.
On Thursday, Rep. Hamilton, along with House and Senate Leadership, met with the governor and agriculture commissioner. He said at the end of that meeting he felt very positive, as he recalls the governor saying that if the agreement could be reached with the ag commissioner that he would support it. Hamilton said that at the conclusion of that meeting, the House and Senate worked out their differences and he was very hopeful that work on the ag bill had concluded.
On Saturday, Hamilton said the same parties met again and “the wheels fell off,” noting that items that had been agreed upon were now up for debate, and several items that were not on the governor’s “must have” list now suddenly appeared.
Afterwards the Governor held a press conference and said that all that was talked about was policy issues, which Hamilton said was not accurate.
“The meetings on the ag finance bill were frustrating and discouraging,” Hamilton said. “If this is a reflection on what’s taking place with all the other budget bills, we’re going to be here for a long time, and that’s very sad because it does not have to be this way.”