Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said a veto of an education budget bill by his fellow DFLer Gov. Mark Dayton would be "risky" and counseled against it.
Dayton threatened a veto today if lawmakers do not agree to another $150 million for education to fund his prekindergarten initiative, to bring the total to around $550 million in new education spending, below his proposed $694 million but above the House Republican budget of about $250 million.
Bakk and House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, agreed to a budget deal Friday, giving the Legislature enough time to finish its business before the adjournment deadline of May 18.
The Daudt-Bakk agreement included nothing about tax cuts or transportation, however. The state has a projected $1.9 billion surplus for the next biennium, but the parties could not come to an agreement on what to do with the bulk of it.
"The Speaker and I both gave up our number one priorities," said Bakk, referring to tax cuts and transporation, respectively. "Maybe (Dayton) has to give his up."
The last minute wrangling is complicated by the renovation of the state Capitol. Construction crews are set to begin dismantling the House chamber May 19. Bakk said a special session that would result if Dayton vetoes budget bills and calls the Legislature back could cost millions of dollars due to interruption of the construction schedule.
Bakk said that he supports Dayton's position but could not persuade House Republicans to accept it.