DFL Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday called some Republican members of the Legislature “anti-government.”
“They don’t know what government does,” Dayton told MPR’s Morning Edition. “They don’t view a shutdown as catastrophically as I do.”
Dayton said he’s asking his commissioners to identify critical services to protect in case he and Republican leaders are unable to reach agreement on a budget by July 1, the start of the next fiscal year.
Dayton said he’s still pessimistic a deal can be reached, noting that Republicans have been “united and steadfast” against raising taxes. He said within both the House and Senate Republican caucuses are “right-wing sub-caucuses.”
“They just won’t budge,” he said.
He said they are stuck on the overall size of the budget.
“$34 billion, then they prefer $32 billion, and then $31 billion. I mean, they don’t even know what those numbers mean,” Dayton said. “All they know is the number 31 is less than 32. And that makes it a good idea because they’re just anti-government.”
Though Dayton agreed a temporary government shutdown would be a “terrible catastrophe,” he said agreeing to the budget plan the Republican-controlled Legislature approved would be even worse.
When asked if Dayton has tried reaching out to Republican members who might be willing to break ranks on a budget, Dayton said he hasn’t started that process yet.
“We can’t pass anything without Republican votes, so somebody’s going to have to exercise a profile in courage and do what’s right for Minnesota,” he said.
Note: MPR host Cathy Wurzer mentioned during the interview that a partial state government shutdown occurred under Jesse Ventura’s time as governor. The shutdown occurred in 2005 under then Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
(MPR reporter Matt Sepic contributed to this report.)