Sen. Schoen supports Gov. Dayton’s veto to bring Republicans back into negotiations

You may have heard by now that Gov. Dayton recently vetoed the legislature’s operating budget. He did so in response to the Republican majority’s “poison pills” planted in many of the bills sent to the him during the special session. Governor Dayton is using this authority to force legislators to come back and finish their work and put the needs of regular Minnesotans first.

One of the most egregious moves Legislative Republicans made was tying the funding for the Department of Revenue to the tax bill. In addition to sneaking this provision in as a poison bill, the legislation places Minnesotans in a nearly $800 million deficit within four years. The tax bill is a prime example of exposing just where the Legislative Republican’s priorities lie, with millions of dollars in tax giveaways to big tobacco and premium cigars, large corporations, and the estates of multimillionaires.

That’s a bill that should have been vetoed. However, if it had been we’d be even worse off since the Department of Revenue is the agency in charge of collecting revenue to run government. It wouldn’t have been there to operate. Playing roulette with Minnesotans and deceiving the governor is irresponsible, reckless and foolish.

Governor Dayton cares more about people outside of the legislature than you could ever imagine. However, because he already experienced a 20-day government shut down in 2011, he knew how much it hurt workers. He also discovered just how willing Legislative Republicans were to let our economy and families suffer as a result.

So, instead of bringing all of government into a shutdown, Governor Dayton delivered a little of their own medicine back to them. He used his authority to line item veto the appropriation that funds the legislator’s paychecks. The same people who played that game in every budget bill were outraged.

There are even moderate Republicans who expressed frustration in the underhanded and dishonest way Speaker Kurt Daudt and others handled the special session bills. In a recent interview in the Rochester Post Bulletin, Republican Senator Dave Senjem had this to say:

Rochester GOP Sen. Dave Senjem is upset with fellow Republicans for sticking the revenue language in the state government bill. He said he had no idea that was in the bill when he voted for it. If lawmakers had known about it, Senjem said he doubts the bill would have passed.

“I don’t know where this little missile came from. I’m personally very disappointed about it, very angered about it,” Senjem said. He said he would like to see Republicans agree to negotiate with the governor and get the issue resolved adding, “I hope that occurs sooner rather than later.” (Rochester Post Bulletin Heather J. Carlson)

Governor Dayton has offered to renegotiate this issue immediately. He wants the legislature to come back and finish their work and put the needs of regular Minnesotans first. Instead, legislative Republicans have decided to squander taxpayer money, pay for expensive attorneys and file a lawsuit. This litigation will be costly and can still be avoided through compromise. Yes, through working out a few simple differences on items that will benefit most Minnesotans. But Republicans refuse to consider that smart approach.

There was a time when Legislative Republicans would look at roads and bridges and a growing population, and acknowledge the need for funds to fix them and add new investments to our infrastructure to address the growing population. They didn’t play games budgets like this and they sure as heck wouldn’t have allowed a budget that sends us into a near billion-dollar deficit when we had a $1.65 billion surplus. But these are not the Republicans you and I grew up with. These Republicans are extreme and refuse to put families first.

I support Governor Dayton in vetoing this provision to draw attention to the political games that all of us are so sick and tired of at the legislature.

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Dan Schoen represents District 54 in the southeast Twin Cities metro.

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