Gov. Mark Dayton, speaking to a mostly Republican audience at the annual Minnesota Business Partnership dinner, repeated his familiar attack on the House GOP, blaming them for a legislative impasse on transportation.
Legislators "accomplished virtually nothing" on a major package to fix the state's roads and bridges and transit systems, Dayton told the crowd, which comprised representatives of the largest Minnesota-based firms like U.S. Bank and Cargill.
Republicans shot back: "Dayton ignores his own intransigence," House GOP chief of staff Ben Golnik tweeted from the dinner. "Twin Cities uber liberals," Golnik continued, "hijacked" the transportation issue in their demands for the contentious Southwest light-rail line from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie.
Dayton and Republicans have argued for months, since even before the Legislature ended its session in May without a public works or roads bill. A tax cut bill was vetoed by Dayton because he said a drafting error would have cost the state tens of millions of dollars in the coming years.
Negotiations for a special legislative session to resolve the disagreements have proved fruitless.
Dayton used the remainder of his speech to applaud the opening of the new Vikings football stadium as a multipurpose facility Minnesotans can be proud of.
He received polite applause.
The annual dinner of the Business Partnership, which is known as the more centrist of the state's major business groups, is a light-hearted affair that includes gentle ribbing of corporate and political leaders of both parties.
After dinner, the night's featured speaker -- Reagan and Bush speechwriter and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan -- regaled the crowd with stories from Washington and spoke about presidential leadership.