Wasting no time after the Legislature adjourned without reaching a compromise with him over the state's fiscal mess, Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed all nine Republican budget bills passed in the waning hours of the session.
In doing so, he reminded GOP leaders that he too had the backing of voters.
"In November, Minnesotans voted for a divided government," Dayton said in a statement accompanying the vetoes. "Compromise is never easy, because each person must give up something that is important."
Read the individual veto statements:[jump]
- Health and Human Services
- Higher Education
- Public Safety
- State Government
Previously: Legislature goes home with no budget
More: Dayton's full press release is after the jump, along with a statement issued by Republican Senate leaders.
Today, Governor Mark Dayton vetoed the nine budget bills passed by the Republican legislature in the closing days of session, and returned the bills along with veto messages outlining areas of both agreement and concern.
In his veto letters, Governor Dayton outlined the stark differences and the need for compromise:
"Each of us started our budget proposals by making a choice. I chose a balanced approach to our budget; one that included both significant cuts, but asked the top two percent of Minnesotans to pay more to ensure our quality of life and the services millions of Minnesotans depend on. My approach chooses not to balance the budget on the backs of the other ninety-eight percent of Minnesotans.
"In the spirit of compromise, more than one week ago, I cut my proposal in half, in the hopes that an offer to meet in the middle would spur action towards the balanced solution the people of Minnesota have asked for.
"Instead, you chose to present me with an all-cuts approach, one that has serious consequences for Minnesotans, and that I do not believe is in line with our shared commitment to build a better Minnesota.
"From the beginning of this legislative session, it has been clear that compromise would be necessary to balance our state's budget. In November, Minnesotans voted for a divided government, and I believe, in their wisdom, they did so because they want part of what each of us has to offer, and they want us to work together to solve the state's budget crisis and build a better Minnesota.
"Compromise is never easy, because each person must give up something that is important. Compromise requires us to agree to items that we don't agree with. That is the only way we will reconcile our differences on the state's budget. I am returning this and the other budget bills to you with the hope that you will choose to work with me, to find a fair, responsible, and balanced solution."
Governor Dayton released his budget proposal on February 15, 2011. Since that time, he has twice revised his budget in search of compromise. Last night, as the legislature adjourned, he noted, "Here we are, on the last night of session --- I'm in the middle, and they haven't moved."
Republican Senate leaders' statement:
(St. Paul) -- The Minnesota Senate adjourned the 2011 legislative session Monday evening with all nine FY2012-13 budget bills on Governor Dayton's desk awaiting his signature. Having compromised on greater spending targets as a result of the February economic forecast, Senate Republicans were able to reconcile the state budget deficit with available revenues, without raising taxes.
"We came here in January, determined to balance the state's budget deficit by living within our means and without raising taxes," said Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch (R-Buffalo). "We came here to put a stop to the out-of-control government spending that is crippling our economy."
Fiscal Year spending for 2010-11 was approximately $32.2 billion. For Fiscal Year 2012-13, Governor Dayton called for a budget of $35.8 billion. The Republican-controlled legislature maintained that they had already compromised on an amended spending limit of $34 billion which, though less than Gov. Dayton's recommendations, still amounts to the largest General Fund budget in Minnesota State history.
"We are disappointed that Gov. Dayton is going to force the legislature into overtime for more spending and more taxes," said Deputy Majority Leader Geoff Michel (R-Edina). "The budget bills on Gov. Dayton's desk put the brakes on automatic increases in spending and send a positive message to businesses, investors and job creators that state government will not tax you into another state."
It remains unclear as to whether or not Gov. Dayton will sign any of the Republican budget bills. If not, a Special Session will be called to continue work on the budget deficit.
"Gov. Dayton's insistence on higher taxes and excessive government spending is not the remedy for job growth and economic recovery," said Sen. Koch. "Rather, it is a prescription for further economic decline."
Republican leaders from the Minnesota House and Senate will participate in a statewide fly-around on Tuesday to promote their work product.