Dayton meeting with legislative leaders, heading for China
February 8, 2011 — 4:23pm
Gov. Mark Dayton, fresh off a morning meeting with the Republican legislative leadership Tuesday, said he's meeting every other week with them, as the session ramps up. And the other weeks, he said he's meeting with the leaders of the DFL minority.
Speaking to reporters later Tuesday, Dayton didn't sound as if he's any closer to finding common ground with the Republicans over closing the state's $6.2 billion hole in its budget. He said the GOP's plan to carve out $900 million in budget cuts is "a piecmeal approach" and that the majorities in both the House and Senate have "jumped ahead" by proposing their cuts even before he's presented his budget for the nex two years.
Separately, Dayton said he will lead a trade delegation to China in August, but offered no specifics. He'll be following in the footsteps of his two most recent preecessors: Both Govs. Tim Pawlenty and Jesse Ventura led similar trips to China.
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During an MPR interview in front a live audience, Dayton reiterated his support for middle class tax cuts, a big boost in transportation funding and universal prekindergarten during next year's legislative session, all priorities he was unable to achieve in the 2015 session.
State Auditor Rebecca Otto, reeling from a new law allowing counties to hire private audit firms to review their finances, said in a statement she has hired outside counsel "to help me assess the implications of this law and its impact on the core function of auditing."