Minnesotans will see millions in tax relief and $1.17 billion in new construction projects as part of measures DFL Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law Tuesday.
The measures are a significant accomplishment for Dayton and DFL legislators who now head into the campaign season in an attempt to hold control at the Capitol.
“Progress,” Dayton said at a Capitol news conference, flanked by House and Senate DFL leaders said. “That is what we have achieved.”
Dayton said he had some regrets about the session and a couple measures left unfinished.
A new measure requiring toxic chemicals to be disclosed on products for children died in the closing hours of session, as did tougher campaign finance and public disclosure requirements for nonprofit groups, which drew strong opposition from anti-abortion groups and the National Rifle Association.
“It’s very telling and very troubling that a couple of interest groups could bludgeon their way to deny people to know where all this money is coming from,” Dayton said.
Dayton said he is still weighing whether to veto a ban on online lottery tickets sales, which emerged as a hotly debated issue in the closing days of the legislative session. He said he would make a final determination on that measure in coming days.
Legislators adjourned late Friday night, ending a legislative session where Democratic majorities in the House and Senate raised the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour, approved more than $550 million in tax breaks, poured more money into the state’s rainy-day fund and legalized medical marijuana.
Republican legislators are flying around the state to persuade Minnesotans against one-party control at the Capitol. With Dayton and the House up for election this fall, Republicans are scrambling to win back the governor’s office or control of the House.
Democrats brought “unhealthy taxing and spending, hurting Minnesota’s economy and hurting Minnesota families,” said House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown.
Republicans need just seven more seats to gain control, and Daudt expects they will win back nearly 20 additional seats on Election Day.
The GOP urged Minnesotans to embrace their “balanced Republican approach.”
Republicans criticized Democrats for a new $77 million office building and for last year's tax hikes, particularly as some early indications show that Minnesota’s employment and budget picture might be dimming a bit.
“Democrats have really let Minnesotans down,” said Senate Majority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie.