Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has vetoed an education finance bill, setting up a special session of the Minnesota Legislature.
Dayton had promised he would block the bill if lawmakers didn't add to the $400 million allocated to public schools. The education package passed by lawmakers included nothing for one of Dayton's top priorities – preschool for 4-year-olds throughout the state.
Legislators adjourned at midnight without changing the package, and the Governor delivered the promised veto Tuesday afternoon.
In his veto letter to House Speaker Kurt Daudt, Dayton said the $400 million wasn't enough given the state's nearly $2 billion surplus. The governor called it "incomprehensible that estate tax cuts for millionaires and property tax relief for large corporations are higher priorities for your House Republican Caucus than investing adequately in our students and young children."
Dayton underlined the fact that the education bill did not include funding that he had specified as mandatory, including money for eliminating the head start waiting list for low income students, no funding for Bureau of Indian Education Schools and Special Education, English Learning Programs and Regional Centers which help the state's most struggling schools.
Dayton closes his letter saying, “Throughout this session, I have heard passionate rhetoric from your members about the urgent need to close the achievement gap. This bill belies that rhetoric, and instead chooses to shortchange our youngest students for future tax cuts.”
You can read the entire letter by clicking on the document attached to this story.