VETO: Gov. Dayton's rejection letter to House Speaker Daudt

VETO: Gov. Dayton's rejection letter to House Speaker Daudt

Gov. Mark Dayton sent a letter to House Speaker Kurt Daudt vetoing the education finance bill the afternoon following the official end of the legislative session.

Full letter: [PDF]

"As I have said before, the bill's total investment of $400 million is insufficient given the state's large surplus. In 2013, with a projected budget deficit of $627 million, the spending increase above the base for E-12 education was $606 million. It is astonishing that with a $1.9 billion surplus, and more than $1 billion left on the bottom for future tax cuts, there would be less invested in our schools this year," the letter reads, in part.

Dayton said at an afternoon news conference that he will call a special session but has not yet talked to Daudt or House Majority Leader Tom Bakk.

In an email to sent to legislative leaders on May 15, Dayton lists his monetary expectations for the bill.

Email: [PDF]

Any special session will not happen at the Capitol, however. Construction crews started tearing apart the House chambers after the stroke of midnight -- perhaps a symbolic end to a year of high hopes and dismantled agendas.

Speaker Daudt said early Tuesday morning that they were working on deal with Dayton all the way up until half an hour before the end of the session. Dayton said in that deal, he offered to drop his universal pre-K demands in exchange for more money to the per-pupil formula. Ultimately, they were $25 million apart and just couldn't get the job done.

What's next Wednesday morning

Following a House Republican press conference at 9 a.m., House DFL Leader Paul Thissen and House DFL legislators will hold a press conference to discuss "the unfinished work of the 2015 session and the impending special session."

$42B budget at midnight

Just before midnight, Minnesota legislators finalized a two-year $42 billion budget at the Capitol. But the meeting adjourned with a near certain special session to take place after an education budget standoff with Gov. Mark Dayton.

"I will veto," Gov. Dayton said at a Sunday press conference. "I repeat again, I will veto a $400 million bill that leaves a billion dollars on the bottom line while denying $171 million for universal pre-K for 4-year-olds."

Daudt said leaders were working until 11:30 p.m. on a deal to save the education bill from getting vetoed. If Dayton vetoes the bill, and there is no time for the legislature to vote on an override, he will have to call them back for a special session sometime before July 1.

Legislators worked around the clock over the last few days to finalize the $17 billion plan for public schools, including $400 million in new spending. But the republican-controlled house wouldn't budge on additional funding for a statewide preschool program.

In the end, senators voted to keep the bill the way it is with a smaller amount of money set aside for preschool scholarships. The budget must be in place by July 1 to avoid a partial government shutdown.

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