Sparta Report

Why did Minnesota Governor Dayton defund the state legislature?

Here’s a story that has YUGE implications but one people outside-a Minny have no clue about.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, in a pique of Proggy Mania, defunded the Entire Minnesota Legislature as of July 1.

Defunded, as line item vetoed ALL the operations money for one ENTIRE BRANCH of government.

Come the new state fiscal year Minnesota will not have ANY money for legislative operations.

(Yeah, I know.  Defund the other two branches and then we’re cookin’ with gas…)

But still…

The Powerline Crew has been on this from the get go.

Their summary is here:

Once again the Minnesota House and Senate are controlled by Republicans. Once again the legislative session was dominated by contentious budget, tax and other issues that required negotiations with Dayton and his commissioners. Their resolution required a special session of the legislature for a few days late last month. The package of budget, tax and state government bills that finally passed reflected compromises on the part of all participants including Dayton and his commissioners.

Dayton demands that Republicans revisit his selected issues on his terms after they have given ground elsewhere to arrive at the bills that were sent to him for his signature. I don’t think they are inclined to make fools of themselves.

Governor Dayton signed all of the bills. He could have vetoed any of them. Even though he professed extreme unhappiness with certain items, he signed the bills (including the tax bill that he says in the letter he would let take effect without his signature, because it would have effectively been vetoed without his signature).

As a result of his unhappiness with certain items, however, Governor Dayton exercised his authority to veto budgetary line items to wipe out the funding of the legislative branch. The legislature’s current funding expires on July 1. After that it will be running for a while on fumes (i.e., reserves on hand).


Governor Dayton seems to have elicited the Republicans’ fighting spirit.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Senate Majority Leader have Paul Gazelka have retained counsel to contest Dayton’s action in court. The lawsuit should be filed within a day or two.

Here’s one thought that may not be too far from the mind of the judge or judges to whom the issue is remitted. If the governor can zero out the legislature he must also be able to zero out the judiciary at the same time, leaving only one man standing. As with so much that is hidden in plain sight here, this is one local story to which attention must be paid.

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