As the debate over legislative salaries continues, Governor Mark Dayton (DFL) in a futile attempt, to try and respond to the Republican budget, he may have provided political cover for Republican legislators by letting the courts force the issue. Constitutionally, the first item funded is the legislative branch, and legislative salaries are included in the funding.
Through his veto, Dayton has set the stage for a court battle which Republicans can win by fighting for the independence of the legislative branch and the financial means to maintain said independence. As we have already heard from Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-13, Nisswa) the issue is a separation of powers. We had expected the legislature would ultimately win this through the courts and be forced to accept their pay increase, and House Republicans could faint their opposition to more money while cashing their checks. Instead, Dayton serves it up on a silver platter.