Earlier in the legislative session, in an article entitled: Legislative X Factor: Dayton’s Stamina, we discussed Governor Mark Dayton’s (DFL) role akin to his time in college as a goalie, and said, “you can never win the game, but you can prevent your team from losing,” but it appears we may be wrong. At this moment, at this time, Dayton can actually win triumphantly.
The legislation passed by both Republican controlled houses has sent to Dayton, a series of legislation, which limits the spending in state government in nearly all areas. This continues the spending restrictions, base level funding cuts, and slow growth tactics employed by the GOP. By starving government on the vine, they create a self-fulfilling prophecy, that government doesn’t work.
In response, Dayton now has all the tools at his disposal, especially the veto pen. He has nine spending bills, the tax bill, the bonding bill and the preemption bill. He stated early on he would veto the preemption bill; HF004 Labor standards, pensions, local government, and other employment provisions modified, and money appropriated, authored by Rep Pat Garofalo (R-58B, Farmington), because of its restrictions on local control on wages and labor rules. This is ironic for Republicans, who often tout local control as their mantra, to effectively, assert the will of the state creating state control. Last, we knew that was considered Communism.
If Dayton were to also veto the tax bill he could hamstring the effectiveness of the Republicans and protect the state from pending federal tax cuts, fostered by Republicans in control in Washington, DC. This will allow the state to continue to collect revenues based on current tax policy, meaning our state should continue to have surpluses.
Some may believe this is in violation of the agreement on the Special Session, which was extended by a handshake, but as we understand it, that was only on the spending provisions, and just as was the case in 2011, a veto of the tax bill, keeps the ship of state afloat.
If Dayton signs the other spending bills, then the state will avoid the need for another Special Session, because the government is fully funded. Of course, there is one other possibility to send a message to the Republicans and show who has the final say, and that is in the bonding bill. Since Dayton had to renegotiate the buffer strips in the Ag bill, he should line item bonding projects in Republican districts, which are not associated with clean water, water treatment facilities or other environmental projects. Which will reduce the cost of the 2017 bonding bill, and allows the 2018 bonding bill to grow accordingly.
We understand Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-03, Cook) is in favor of a veto of the transportation bill because it is reliant on too much upfront spending taken from the current surplus and the general fund, but that would trigger the need for a Special Session.
So, the basic point is veto preemption, the tax bill, and portions of the bonding bill.