Governor Mark Dayton said today that he’ll agree to an offer submitted by Republicans on June 30. The plan would extend the K12 school shift by $700 million and borrows $700 million against future tobacco borrowing.
“I am willing to agree to something that I don’t agree with,” Dayton said.
There are some conditions. Among other things, he wants the GOP to drop all policy language in their bills, their proposed 15 percent across the board cut in the public employee cut workforce and he wants a bonding bill.
Dayton made the announcement Thursday to a group of public policy fellows at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Dayton said he can’t say whether the offer is still on the table.
“As far as I’m concerned it’s still on the table. If it’s not, I’ll put it on there right now.”
Dayton spent a large part of the week touting this budget plan. He discussed special education in St. Cloud, health care in Rochester and economic development in Albert Lea.
His PR blitz is meant to show that the state needs more revenue to plug the state’s budget gap. He argues the GOP based budget would have dramatic problems for programs and services across Minnesota. Before the speech at the U of M started, Dayton’s aides handed out literature that pointed out that many states have raised taxes and cut programs since 2003. The move appears to be a move to show that Republicans are unwilling to move on new revenue and will own the budget plan they’ve proposed.
Dayton is at odds with the GOP controlled Legislature over the best way to erase the state’s $5 billion projected budget deficit. Dayton has said he prefers to raise the income tax on Minnesotans who earn $1 million or more a year but is open to other options like raising taxes on cigarettes or alcohol.
Republican leaders have not made a new budget offer since the state shutdown started on July 1. GOP legislative leaders have argued that they can erase the state’s budget deficit through spending cuts. Several rank and file members are starting to break from that position, arguing that more revenue is needed to end the shutdown. It’s the 14th day of the shutdown and Dayton and GOP leaders have no meetings scheduled. It’s been one week since the two sides have held face to face talks.
Dayton and GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers will be face to face tonight. The two will appear live on KARE11 at 10pm to take questions on the budget and the state government shutdown.
Update: Republicans aren’t saying whether they’ll accept the offer.
“Senate leadership is reviewing the offer,” Senate GOP spokesman Michael Brodkorb said via e-mail. “No further comment.
Here’s the first part of his speech:
Here’s Dayton’s letter: