Gov. Mark Dayton on Saturday threatened the veto of any education budget bill if legislative leaders do not include universal preschool and $150 million more for education above the level included in a deal announced Friday.
The veto threat is the latest turn in a fast-dwindling legislative session that appeared to be coming to a conclusion Friday night when legislative leaders announced an agreement. Dayton, however, immediately objected to the deal that Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, and House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crow, announced.
Dayton is standing firm on his universal preschool proposal, and he also said the education budget target of $400 million is too low.
"I'm going to veto $400 million because it's wrong for the people of Minnesota, for the parents of Minnesota, and for the schoolchildren of Minnesota -- it's wrong," Dayton said Saturday in a news conference.
In an effort to compromise, he said he agreed to reduce his original proposal of $694 million in new spending. All-day universal preschool represented more than half of that in his budget request, but his latest offer is to scale that back to half-day programming.
"It's just nonsensical that they won't agree to another $150 million for better-quality education," Dayton said.
Photo: Gov. Mark Dayton attends the groundbreaking of the planned Hmong Lao Veterans Memorial Statue near the Capitol Saturday. (Jim Gehrz/Star Tribune)