Tempers flare as session clock ticks
ST. PAUL -- Republicans say Gov. Mark Dayton's veto Friday of their tax-relief bill threatens cooperation in the few remaining days of the Minnesota legislative session.
"You do not move Minnesota forward with a red veto pen," Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, said, waving a red-capped Sharpie. "This is a slap in the face to Minnesotans."
He said he believed the tax plan likely was the best jobs bill of the session.
Deputy Senate Majority Leader Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, said Dayton did not inform Republicans involved in crafting the bill that he would veto it. She said she learned via Twitter that he had rejected the plan.
Dayton's office received the tax bill Thursday night after the House and Senate passed it this week. He said he vetoed it quickly because he "wanted to get it out of the way so it could not be used as a negotiation tactic" for a Vikings stadium or public works borrowing bill.
Among its provisions, the vetoed bill would have provided tax cuts, mainly for businesses.
Dayton said any new spending or tax reductions had to avoid increasing future state deficits, but the plan he vetoed would use the budget reserves to pay for a business property tax freeze and other tax breaks.
The Democratic governor said his office responded to the Republican-written tax plan with a counterproposal but did not get a response before the House and Senate voted.
Homeowners have "been hit just as hard, if not worse" than businesses when it comes to tax hikes, Dayton said. He said the relief should be more balanced.
He said there are some parts of the bill he does like and is willing to discuss a compromise.
Ortman said the governor's veto was irresponsible and said the bill was high-quality and bipartisan.
"I share Sen. Ortman's disappointment, especially when it comes to small businesses," House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, said. "This was a reasonable tax bill."
Zellers said he would be willing to continue working with the governor on a solution, but was uncertain it would be possible.
"When the negotiations are no, no, no ... what are members left to think?" Zellers said, calling the veto "disrespectful."