Gov. Mark Dayton said Saturday he intended to sign the final three budget bills approved by the Legislature hours earlier, ending the threat of a partial government shutdown that threatened the livelihoods of nearly 9,500 state workers.
Those final bills funded public schools, economic development and energy programs and the departments of agriculture and natural resources. Later in the day he signed those, and three other bills as well: a $373 million public works bonding bill, Legacy legislation that distributes sales tax proceeds for clean water, natural resources, arts and cultural heritage initiatives, and a bill that makes technical corrections to other legislation.
"As I have noted before, a sign of true compromise is that no one is happy with it," Dayton said. He expressed dismay at the final version of the environmental protection bill that emerged from the Legislature, calling it "terrible."
He criticized Republicans for policy provisions that fellow DFLers attempted late Friday to undo, including the eliminating of a citizens' board at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
"There won't be a citizens' board, which I regret," Dayton said, adding that he will champion environmentalists' causes moving forward.
Despite the makeup of the Legislature — a Republican-led House and a DFL-led Senate — "legislators achieved significant progress," he said.
(Photo: Gov. Mark Dayton in a Saturday news conference said he would sign the final bills approved by the Legislature hours earlier, ending a budget stalemate that had gripped the state for nearly four weeks. Ricardo Lopez/Star Tribune.)