Gov. Mark Dayton gave the news media a few minutes for questions after the roundtable discussion.
He wouldn’t say what he would hold firm on in his higher-ed budget bill, or what he was willing to compromise on.
(The GOP is in full control of the conference committee that will produce the legislature’s higher-ed finance bill, but the governor said it still needs to iron out differences between the House and Senate bills, so wasn’t ready to comment yet till he saw final numbers.)
Dayton said today’s event was a “reminder that this has been a period of (budgetary) contraction” in higher education, and that the cuts proposed by the GOP would “really harm education.”
He also called Republican budgeting “accounting fiction.”
(Metro State professor Monte Bute told me later he thinks the roundtable talk was the backdrop Dayton needed to veto the legislature’s proposed higher-ed budget.)
Despite criticism of his budget in the legislature, Dayton told reporters (though this isn’t verbatim):
“I got 919,000 voters last November (backing my tax and budgeting philosophy). They agree the highest-earning Minnesotans need to pay their fair share so that we don’t have to make these higher education cuts. I’m going back to the mandate I got in that election.”