In a stinging coda to a divisive legislative session, DFL Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday vetoed a GOP-led package of business property tax breaks that were a top priority for many of the state's corporate leaders.
The veto came hours after a session-ending triumph for Dayton and a bipartisan group of legislators, when Dayton made a rare, ceremonial show in the Capitol rotunda of officially signing the bill to create a new $975 million home for the Minnesota Vikings.
A billion for the Vikings, bupkes for other businesses. Not surprisingly, the reaction wasn't happy:
"The governor showed a great amount of flexibility on his top priority, the stadium, and little or no flexibility on issues related to small-business job creation," said David Olson, president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.And the Republicans, who basically spent the last week trying to get something done as Helga Braid Nation sucked all the oxygen out of the Capitol Dome, were less than pleased:
GOP legislators say they now realize they should have insisted on the stadium and tax bills as a package deal to ensure that both became law. Rep. Greg Davids, chairman of the House Taxes Committee, accused Dayton of trading stadium votes from DFLers in return for vetoing the tax bill, robbing Republicans of a chief accomplishment.
"Dayton got everything he wanted," said Davids, R-Preston. "It was a finely crafted tax bill that he torched for political purposes."
Senate Taxes Committee Chairwoman Julianne Ortman said the bill offered a lot of relief for business for only a tiny burden on the budget. "This was a terribly unfortunate, very partisan veto and he did it at the expanse of all the cities and businesses of Minnesota," said Ortman, R-Chanhassen.
So let's sum this up -- Dayton rams through the Vaseline Dome and then shows every other business in Minnesota his butt. And now the Republicans get to be on the business end of a few million dollars worth of Alida Messinger ads that they won't be able to counter.
After the cynical, scurrilous campaign that Dayton used to gain the governor's chair, it should have been evident to everyone on the Republican side that they were dealing with a guy who does not act in good faith. I hope the momentary praise was worth it for the Julie Rosens, John Kriesels and Morrie Lannings of the world.