Funding for NW MN Projects Hang in the Balance as Gov. Dayton Considers Signing or Vetoing Tax & Budget Bills
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Legislature wrapped up their session Sunday night and many questions are still unanswered.
If Gov. Mark Dayton doesn’t sign a tax bill, which sync’s Minnesota’s tax code with the federal Republican law, it would create a complex filing season next year.
Vetoing a budget bill would not give schools money to improve security.
The Democrat is upset Republicans didn’t put school funding in a separate bill instead of adding it to the spending bill.
“They’re putting it in a bill, again, the omnibus budget bill, because they know I’m not going to sign that and so they can go around saying ‘Dayton vetoes school safety.’ It really is appalling,” Dayton said.
Some bills sent to Dayton’s desk could greatly impact Northwestern Minnesota, including a piece of infrastructure many in Moorhead are hoping gets built soon. But DFL FL Rep. Ben Lien of Moorhead said more could have been done.
“We passed a Capital Investment Bill with funding for several projects in Moorhead including $6 million for the 20/21 Street underpass and $628,000 for Weld Hall at MSUM. However, the Legislature did not adequately address all of the pressing issues currently facing Minnesotans. People need better responses to the opioid crisis and elder abuse issues,” Lien said.
DFL Senator Kent Eken of Twin Valley said he hopes the governor won’t veto the budget bill, which puts off a 7 percent cut in funding for Personal Care Attendants. He explains the measure has a provision to give equal rates of pay between PCAs in Moorhead and Fargo.
Eken adds the bonding bill provides funding for flood mitigation for Moorhead, Hendrum, Perley and Halstad.
But DFL Dilworth Rep. Paul Marquart said legislators not coming together on certain issues could lead to a big wakeup call in a few months.
“I don’t see where not getting important funding for schools or not getting a tax conformity bill, which we need, helps either party when it comes to November. So, I don’t know what the motivation for sure was to not get a final deal on this,” Marquart said.
Republican leadership hopes the governor signs the tax and budget measures.
“There are a lot of good bipartisan policies in these bills that we know will help Minnesotans. It’s time to set aside politics and for our governor to sign them,” Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, a Republican of Nisswa, said.
“Republicans have delivered one of the most productive two-year stretches in recent history delivering major tax cuts, boosting resources for education, lowering health care costs, and making record-setting investments in road and bridge infrastructure,” Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt, a Republican from Crown said.
Dayton has two weeks to sign or veto the budget, tax and bonding bills.