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Tax cut measure delayed, again. Dayton turns his ire from DFLers to Republicans

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: March 20, 2014 - 6:33 PM

The Legislature's tax bill, designed to give tax breaks to adoptive parents, students and businesses, has been delayed again.

After DFL Gov. Mark Dayton demanded the Minnesota Senate put a rush on the bill, the DFL controlled Senate moved to get it to his desk quickly. Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said the Senate would pass the bill Thursday.

That would have quickly shot the bill over to the House for final passage and then on to Dayton for his  signature.

But trouble in the Senate slowed it down.

"This is not where we just ram things through," said Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R- Big Lake.

Kiffmeyer was one of many Republican Senators who refused to go along with the plan to approve the bill just a few hours after the measure was published on Thursday. Without Republican support, the Senate could not muster the votes to take up the bill.

Dayton, who directed his ire at DFL senators over the tax bill early in the week, focused it on Republican senators Thursday.

"Inexcusably, the Senate Republicans are now refusing to suspend the rules to permit prompt consideration of the bill on the Senate floor," Dayton said in a statement. "Senate DFL leaders, House DFL leaders, my staff, and I have worked closely together, so that this essential legislation could be passed today by both the Senate and the House, and signed into law this evening. There is no good reason for Senate Republicans (to) block the bill’s passage today."

"If Republican legislators force any further delays in either the Senate or the House, they will be solely responsible for denying income tax cuts to thousands of Minnesotans,” the governor said in a statement.

Bakk dismissed the Republican-led one day slow down.

"This is just a procedural type thing. (The Republicans) had some leverage and they decided to use it," Bakk said.

Bakk said he didn't think a one day delay would affect many taxpayers. But he did offer some filing advice: "I would tell people, if they were planning to file taxes on Friday, they might want to wait until Monday because they will probably save some money."

Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, said Democrats deserved the blame if Thursday’s delay ends up costing any Minnesota taxpayers.

“If that is true, then shame on the majority party for not addressing this sooner and shame on the governor for not making sure it got done sooner,” Hann said.

Dayton said earlier in the week that he was "very, very, very disappointed" that the Legislature had not seen the urgency to pass the bill. The House, also controlled by Democrats, had approved a version early this month.

Now, the Senate passage will likely have to wait until Friday. After that, the House is expected to give it the final push and Dayton can sign it into law.

"We will take it up tomorrow for sure," said House Speaker Paul Thissen. "I'm hopeful we can get it done as quickly as possible."

Star Tribune reporter Patrick Condon contributed to this report.

Updated

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