Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday vetoed Republican lawmakers' measure to repay schools using reserve funds, issuing the first of what may be many vetoes coming on GOP signature proposals.
The DFL governor said that using the state's reserves funds to refill school coffers, as Republicans desired, was politically appealing but fiscally irresponsible.
The move won plaudits from Democrats and brickbats from Republicans.
“Only in DFL la-la land is paying back money borrowed from school districts ‘irresponsible.’ In fact, it's the only responsible thing to do," said Republican Party chair Pat Shortridge.
Dayton's Minnesota Management and Budget commissioner Jim Schowalter said the state was already in a "very perilous" cash flow situation and the GOP school shift payback plan, which would use the account the state set up to cushion against bad times, would have only made it worse.
The governor and the Republican Legislature last year adopted the shift, which delays payments to schools, to improve the state's short-term budget situation. The shift makes it harder for schools to do their own budgeting and is unpopular among school administrators and in many cities and towns.
Last year, the state drained the reserve fund to fix the budget deficit. It just replenished that fund.
Here's the governor's veto letter: