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Dayton: Republicans in a bitter back-and-forth

Posted by: under Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota legislature, State budgets Updated: May 17, 2011 - 7:31 PM

After an unproductive morning meeting with Republican legislative leaders to thrash out the state's budget morass, Gov. Mark Dayton came out swinging in a radio interview later Tuesday morning.

"I can't negotiate with people who are completely unreasonable," Dayton said during an hour-long appearance on Minnesota Public Radio.

Within a few hours, the GOP's Senate leaders returned fire, with Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said she's disappointed in the remarks the governor made, the language that he used. We have been working for weeks and weeks with the governor ... and there has been very little meaningful activity from the other side."

A day after he offered to pare his plan to increase income taxes by half, promptly rebuffed by the Republicans, Dayton said they have proposed "drastic, devastating cuts in their budget."

He characterized the GOP's stand as "it's got to be our way or no way ... I got elected, too."

He added: "They act as though they have the only mandate."

"They have their mandate, I have mine," he said. "They have their principles, I have mine."

Dayton said that by rejecting his plan to raise income taxes on just 2 percent of Minnesotans,"they think everybody else should suffer" and that the GOP's position is "so destructive to the fabric of society ... They just seem oblivious to the effects of this budget."

During an afternoon press gaggle, the Republicans repeated their complaints that talks with Dayton's department heads have made little or no progress.

"We have six days left and have a great deal of work to do, but the work can get done if the governor will step up, step into his leadership role and engage on this budget discussion," Koch said.

She said she believed the budget bills will begin moving toward final Senate approval within "a day or two. We need to start moving. We're running out of time."

UPDATE: Demonstrating that bad blood isn't merely flowing between Dayton and the Republican leadership, Senate Democrats late in the day blasted their GOP counterparts of bad-faith, amateurish, negotiating over budget bills.

"It's hardly negotiating," said Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, saying committee chairmen haven't been given the power to negotiate with department heads -- an accusation the GOP earlier levelled at the commissioners.

"It's so ridiculous, such a charade," said Sen. Scott Dibble.

 

“They’re going to have to compromise,” Bakk said “I would say it’s their move and for anyone to think that it’s not doesn’t understand how the give-and-take process of negotiation needs to play out.”

 

 

 

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