Dayton vows to veto objectionable MNLARS bill

Gov. Mark Dayton is threatening to veto legislation to fix the MNLARS system if it takes money from state agencies’ budgets. Tim Pugmire | MPR News

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton is pledging to veto an emergency funding bill for the troubled Minnesota Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS) if the House position prevails in upcoming negotiations.

Dayton is willing to accept the version that passed Monday in the Senate. He opposes the House version, which would provide $10 million while requiring the administration to cut an equal amount from other state agencies to pay for the fix.

Dayton told reporters Tuesday that he made his objections clear to Republican legislative leaders.

“There’s no justification whatsoever for taking that money from other state agencies,” Dayton said. “I will veto that measure if it’s in the bill. I will veto the bill, and then we’ll be done.”

Dayton continues to question whether Republican leaders want to fix MNLARS or keep the problem alive as a campaign issue.

Dayton said a veto would end the MNLARS discussion this session.

“We’ll just have to put MNLARS improvement on hold, and the next administration can take it over,” he said.

House Republicans say they want Dayton to take financial responsibility for the MNLARS mess. During Monday’s House debate, Rep. Paul Torkelson, R-Hanska, the House transportation chair, said he would be holding firm to that position in negotiations with the Senate.

“We have a good, strong House position. I plan to defend it in conference committee,” Torkelson said.

  • Jeff

    It would be nice to see Dayton just take responsibility for the MNLARS debacle. He’s not up for reelection and he was notified 3 years ago about this issue and didn’t take any action, take the blame and sign the funding bill, that’d be the responsible thing to do here.

    • Peter Tobias

      The funding bill cuts at other agencies that had nothing to do with MNLARS. If their work was considered worth their cost, why should their work cut back?

      • Jeff

        Why should tax payers be asked to pay a technology fee (as Dayton suggested) to pay for a failure that Dayton’s administration did not deal with when alerted 3 years ago?

        To me it makes more sense that other executive branch agencies should be punished over the tax payers since it was executive branch oversight that failed in this case.

  • Peter Tobias

    Why should other agencies suffer if MNLARS screwed up? They have their responsibilities.

    • Billy

      Why should taxpayers have to fork over another $10 million? This is just another example of the Dayton administrations incompetence and how they refuse to take any responsibility or if they do take responsibility, they still expect others to pay for it. BTW, I’d be saying the same thing if this were a republican control administration.

      • Peter Tobias

        The other agencies’ responsibilities don’t go away if there’s a screw-up at MNLARS. Either their work is worth their cost or not. You might take a fundamentalist position that all government is bad, but I would reject that.
        . . . Minnesotans have elected Dayton and the legislature and benefited from it handsomely, because Minnesota has a much better economy than its neighbors with Republican governors. If the problems at MNLARS have festered unsolved for three years as the article indicates, it’s a problem for the governor and the legislature, too. As long as there is no break-down in state revenue as in the Great Recession 2007-2011, we should let the other agencies do their work, but clean up at MNLARS to clarify to all administrative leaders that if they screw up, they will be hold accountable.