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Gov. Dayton suggests bad back may delay Minn. budget plan

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton says he is recovering well from back surgery, but if he is not better by Jan. 22, he may delay releasing his budget proposal.

“If it goes well, I’ll be ‘back’ on a public schedule, starting Tuesday, January 22nd, when I’ll present my proposed budget for the next biennium, as required by state law,” Dayton wrote on Facebook on Monday. “If not, I’ll invoke the obscure clause in the Minnesota Constitution, which allows me a one-time, two-month extension.”

Jan. 22 is the deadline for him to deliver his proposal for the two-year budget that begins July 1.

However, he has said that how Congress and the president deal with federal budget problems could force him to rewrite his budget plan. A new state budget report is due late next month that could include the impact of new Washington action.

Legislative leaders say they will not write their own budget plans until they see what comes from the governor’s office.

Dayton has met with commissioners and staff about the budget and other issues regularly while recovering from back surgery late last month. He canceled all public appearances and holds meetings at his official residence.

A Dayton spokeswoman said he is not taking prescription pain medicine.

“For anyone wondering, my back is improving daily,” Dayton wrote on Facebook. “I’m on the modified Adrian Peterson rehab program, so my progress is not quite as noticeable as his. However, the only time I’ve ever been called ‘All Day Dayton’ was once, when I was being timed on a mile run.”

The governor indicated that he has been encouraged to do therapy regularly. “In response to all of the well-intended admonitions, yes, I am doing my physical therapy faithfully, if not always joyfully.”

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.