Governor vetoes higher education omnibus bill. Negotiations restart.
Governor Dayton stated last week that he would veto all of the Republican omnibus budget bills after negotiations halted. On Friday the Governor issued veto letters on the first five bills that were presented to him last week. On Monday, the remaining omnibus bills passed the Senate and House floors. At 6:37 p.m., the bills were presented to the Governor At 7:05 p.m., the governor signed his veto letters. The bills were returned to the Senate and House approximately 30 minutes later.
In his veto letter regarding the higher education bill, Dayton expressed his concerns that “At a time a significant state budget surplus, an investment of $318M (Governor’s recommended funding level) in post-secondary student to help enhance the economic vitality of the State and secure our students future potential in the workforce and community simply makes sense. Further, while many other states are disinvesting in post-secondary education we gain an edge by investing.” The bill presented to him provided for less than 39% of his original budget recommendation.
In the 3-page letter, Dayton outlines his specific concerns including, “Additionally, the lack of investment in core mission support at the University of Minnesota and campus support at Minnesota State risks the degradation of educational quality for our students. The bill exacerbates the situation for Minnesota State by setting the tuition rate rather than leaving that up to the appointed Minnesota State Trustee . This will likely lead to layoffs and diminished course offerings and support services on many campuses.”
He also stated, “As we discussed the other day, a study or report on mandatory student fees should be sufficient rather than the prohibition in Article 2 Section 3. Student representative groups and Minnesota State and the University of Minnesota believe a prohibition will negatively impact·student life and the student experience will be degraded.”
Negotiations between the Governor and the four legislative leaders are to resume Tuesday morning to try to reach a budget agreement and path forward before the end of the session.