Our perpetually petulant governor – Part MMDCXCVII

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If Little Lord Fauntleroy Gov. Mark Dayton is true to his word (far from a sure thing) and thus does not call for a special legislative session, this will be the last time the MN Legislature has to endure his erratic behavior.

Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday vetoed two measures that together comprised much of the work of this year’s Legislature, leaving the DFL governor few accomplishments for his last year in office and Republican leaders with little to show for three months of work.

Dayton’s vetoes killed tax cuts for the two lowest income brackets and Minnesota businesses, along with a state-federal tax code alignment intended to prevent major filing headaches for Minnesotans next year. Also dead is additional money for public schools and for treatment and prevention programs meant to address the opioid-addiction epidemic.

The DFL governor had warned GOP legislative leaders in the final days of session that the vetoes were likely. Legislators passed the bills anyway and publicly asked him to reconsider. With just over seven months left in office, Dayton’s relationship with the Republicans who control the Legislature may have reached an all-time low.

“This session was not about working out agreements with me,” Dayton said Wednesday. “It wasn’t even about working out the best interest of the people of Minnesota. It was about the House Republicans cozying up to the moneyed special interests.”

Republicans were even more withering in response.

“This session wasn’t a failure. Our governor was a failure,” said House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown. Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, chairman of the Senate Taxes Committee, said in a news release that Dayton “behaved like a toddler — emotional, impulsive and unreasonable.”

Aw, c'mon Speaker Daudt. Certainly Dayton could give a substantive list of reasons why he would veto such critical pieces of legislation.

Oof. Or not.

Yeah, but I believe we can ascertain the real reason for Dayton's actions: Sticking it to the Republicans. But in doing so, it may adversely affect many Minnesotans. Susan Closmore, Director of Public Affairs at the MN House Republican Caucus, shared a list via email of those who could be negatively impacted.

· Victims of elder abuse
· Victims of opioid addiction, and medical professionals
· Victims of distracted driving
· Special education and Head Start students
· People dealing with MNLARS hassles
· Deputy registrars whose businesses are floundering after MNLARS
· People who need mental health support, particularly farmers and students
· Farmers and agribusinesses that need Section 179 conformity for equipment depreciation
· People who live in rural areas without high-speed internet
· Students who need help to afford college
· People who need job training and businesses that need skilled workers
· K-12 students who won’t benefit from school safety funding
· Taxpayers who will have a heck of a time filing their taxes next year
· Voters concerned about election security
· Minnesotans concerned about privacy, data breaches, and cyber security
· CPAs and tax professionals who will be dealing with very complex tax filings
· Parents looking to find the best school for their children
· Low-income working families who rely on federal child care subsidies
· New teachers who need licenses, and schools who want to hire them
· Children enrolled in Head Start programs
· Schools that need adjustments to fully fund special education
· Patients who care about transparent pricing for health care and prescription drugs
· People with disabilities, and their caretakers, who would be affected by a 7% cut to the Disability Waiver Rate System
· Startup businesses that depend on the Angel Investor Tax Credit to grow

Apparently Dayton was unmoved.

"I'm not saying that's a good way to approach this, but the sky is not falling."

Emphasis was mine.

We always knew that this spoiled man child didn't have the first clue regarding the plight of regular working folks. But Dayton's flippant dismissal over vetoing vital pieces of legislation cements his legacy as the most oafish and erratic governor in Minnesota's history. And that's saying something given that this is the same state which once elected a crackpot former pro wrestler as its top executive.

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