St. Paul, Minn.—Senate DFL Caucus Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) has released the following statement regarding the end of the 2017 Special Session.
My disappointment and frustration with these budget bills, and the unaccountable process used to develop them, are too great to outline in a simple press statement. The concessions forced upon Gov. Dayton and DFL legislators are a reflection of just how different DFL and Republican values are. Republican budget offers put the wealthy first, DFL budget offers put working Minnesotans first. Compromises had to be made by both sides to finally end this special session means neither the DFL nor Republicans got all of what we wanted.
I’m a union carpenter, I build things, including consensus. I’ve spent my whole life trying to raise people’s wages and quality of life. I am appalled by the anti-worker policies DFL legislators and Gov. Dayton had to fight to keep out of these budget bills. The only thing the Republican lead legislature had to do this year, was pass the state budget. Republicans held up progress on the budget bills in pursuit of anti-worker and anti-family agenda.
Passing these budget bills today prevented the bills from getting any worse. Republicans needed just a handful of DFL votes to get this special session over with, and DFL legislators leveraged that for real victories for working Minnesotans. Republicans’ dismantling of the right to collectively bargain through the changes to the Subcommittee on Employee Relations would have destroyed public employees’ ability to improve their quality of life and income.
One of the worst pieces of policy Gov. Dayton and DFL legislators kept at bay is the neo-voucher system Republicans had in their tax bill. This straight-up giveaway to the very wealthy and corporate interests is one of the worst things Washington D.C.-style politics brought to this state. Keeping neo-vouchers out of the tax bill does not make this bill worthy of the Governor’s signature. This tax bill is a time bomb. The Republican tax bill has massive spending in future years that will likely cripple Minnesota’s economy and plow this state into ongoing deficits. The Republican tax bill is reckless, and bad for Minnesota.