Gov. Mark Dayton splashed some cold water Tuesday on Republicans' push to require Minnesota voters to present a photo identification card at the polls.
He stopped short of declaring he would veto any photo ID bill that reaches his desk: "I'm not using that word."
Without addressing specifics of bills now moving through the legislature, Dayton said he will defer to the judgment of Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, who has estimated that implementing a voter ID system could cost as much as $20 million. Ritchie opposes the photo ID proposal.
Dayton said he doesn't favor changes in the state's election law that would increase the cost or "make matters worse."
Minnesota law does not require voters to present ID if they have already registered. The bill would require a state-issued driver's license or other approved photo ID. The state would purchase a network of broadband-linked tools to be installed in nearly every precinct.
Voter ID legislation has been introduced by Republicans in the past with little success, The House Government Operations and Elections Committee approved the measure on a 9-6 vote Tuesday, with all Republicans in favor and all Democrats opposed.
Dayton said the push for photo IDs has been fueled by "the fiction that the last two elections were flawed in Minnesota ... the recounts have proven the opposite."
He was speaking after addressing members of the Minnesota Farmers Union, telling them "they were kind of just a little ahead of the curve" if they hoped to hear details of his budget proposal, which he will unveil next week.
However, he reiterated his campaign pledge to "make taxes more progressive in Minnesota -- not more regressive." Specifically, he said he wants to raise income taxes on Minnesotans with the highest incomes and reduce property taxes for many property owners, a tax he called "regressive and unfair."
Solving the state's budget woes is "not about tax or no tax -- it's about which taxes on whom."