Updated with Daudt comments.
For the second time in five weeks, DFL Gov. Mark Dayton has closed the door on a potential special legislative session to pass a tax relief bill and a package of public construction projects.
The on again, off again negotiations that began four months ago came to their latest halt Friday in a letter Dayton sent to Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt. In the letter, Dayton noted the fast-approaching election and the deep disagreements that remain on the funding of transportation projects in the bonding bill.
“I have reluctantly concluded that the time for agreement on a special session has expired,” Dayton wrote.
Dayton announced back in August a similar end to special session talks. At that time, the major sticking point was funding for the Southwest light rail project between Minneapolis and Eden Prairie. But three local government entities stepped up with an alternative solution.
With the light rail issue out of the way, Dayton and Daudt began talking about again about a special session to pass a tax bill and bonding bill.
But Dayton and Senate Democrats oppose the House GOP proposal to prioritize specific transportation projects in the bonding bill. Dayton said the earmarking is “unacceptable” and runs counter to “long-established protocol.”
Dayton emphasized his concern with an attached letter signed by current and former chairs of the House and Senate transportation committees.
The eight Democrats and three Republicans said the proposed earmarking would be a “historic mistake.”
Daudt shot back with a statement, accusing Dayton of walking away from good bills. He also blamed House Democrats for the breakdown in talks, accusing them of “putting their own selfish political interests before those of Minnesota families.”