Dayton: special session workaround won’t work

Gov. Mark Dayton (MPR photo)

Gov. Mark Dayton said today he doesn’t see a way to provide storm damage relief to 18 counties without calling lawmakers back to St. Paul for a special session.

House and Senate leaders said last week that they were looking for a way to tap unused money that was allocated for previous disasters. They said that approach could avoid the cost of a special session, as well as a contentious debate over taxes. Dayton told reporters today that the prevailing view now is that there’s no way to avoid a special session.

“The person who has to carry out that exercise, Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter, has not seen anything that persuades him that he can follow the law and still transfer that money,” Dayton said. “So, I told him I’m not going to compel him to do that.”

Dayton and legislative leaders are scheduled to meet again Wednesday to try to reach an agreement on the agenda for a special session on Sept. 9. So far, they’ve only agreed on the date.

Democrats are willing to take up a tax exemption for farm machinery repairs. But Republicans are pushing for the repeal of new taxes on business equipment repairs, warehousing services and equipment purchases by telecommunications companies.

Dayton said he’s still waiting for Republicans to propose how to pay for those repeals.

“If you want to eliminate $310 million of revenue for the three of them, then you need to tell us  where you’re going to raise $310 million in additional revenue or cut $310 million of spending,” he said. “Maybe we’ll get that tomorrow morning, I hope so, because that’s going to be a requirement before we go any further.”

  • Mike

    Since the DFL was responsible for the $2.1B in new taxes, they should go to their wish list and remove the last $300M or so of prioritized spending. Since they and the Governor are responsible for this taxing and spending issue, and if now there is a bipartisan sense that these taxes are a mistake and will hurt the states economy the DFL should acknowledge the mistake and adjust their spending plan accordingly instead of expecting the republican minority to fix it for them.