GOP leaders ‘disappointed’ after morning meeting with Dayton

Dayton and RepublicansGov. Mark Dayton, Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and House Speaker Kurt Zellers wait before a joint House and Senate GOP caucus at the Capitol on Thursday. Dayton and the GOP leadership met again Saturday. (MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson)

GOP leaders said a morning meeting with Dayton was “disappointing,” yet they say they’re still optimistic a budget deal will be reached by Monday’s deadline.

Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, said Republicans were especially disappointed they’ve received no official feedback on a K-12 funding bill the Legislature approved earlier this week. Republicans are now calling on Dayton to veto that bill quickly so they know what his problems are with the bill.

DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen said it should be clear why Dayton doesn’t support it.

“The are significant policy differences in those bills,” Thissen said. “The governor put out a seven-point plan a long time ago. None of that showed up in the Republican bills. And there are policy in those bills, like vouchers for example, which is inconsistent with where most Minnesotans are on education policy.”

Dayton has said he will not allow any of the budget bills to become law until there’s an agreement on the entire budget. The Legislature didn’t send the bill to Dayton until yesterday, and the constitution gives him three days to decide whether to sign or veto it.

The morning meeting in Dayton’s office included GOP leaders, as well as DFL Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk and Thissen.

Thissen said afterward that not much progress was made. He said Dayton offered concessions on his budget proposal on Monday, and that Democrats were waiting for Republicans to act.

“Republicans haven’t moved on their position at all,” he said.

Deputy Senate Majority Leader Geoff Michel, R-Edina, said Republican leaders will meet with Dayton again mid-afternoon.

“We’ll work today, we’ll work tomorrow and we’ll keep talking with the governor,” Michel said.

(MPR reporter Tom Scheck contributed to this report.)