Gov. Mark Dayton on Tuesday lambasted House Republicans for what he called an "insufficient" education budget bill, and he said he will be calling legislators back for a special session to hammer out a new agreement on public schools spending.
The news conference followed a frenzied, last-minute push by the Legislature to pass major budget bills ahead of a midnight deadline Tuesday.
Dayton followed through on his earlier promise, issuing a veto letter addressed to House Speaker Kurt Daudt that said it's "incomprehensible that estate tax cuts for millionaires and property tax relief for large corporations are higher priorities for your House Republican Caucus than investing adequately in our students and young children."
Dayton staffers and House leadership worked right up until the legislative deadline to broker a deal that would avert the governor's veto.
The DFL governor confirmed an earlier Star Tribune report that he was willing to accept $125 million in spending above the $400 million the bill contained. He said he would also drop his insistence on universal prekindergarten if Republicans had provided funding for some of his other priorities, including funding to eliminate a Head Start waiting list and additional funding for Bureau of Indian Education schools.
Dayton said the money would have gone to school readiness programs, a decision he said he wasn't "thrilled" about but that he showed good faith in negotiations with Republicans.
Photo: Gov. Mark Dayton criticized House Republicans for what he said was instransigence regarding funding for universal preschool, issuing a veto on an education budget bill the Legislature approved Monday. (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune)