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Dayton calls for special session on storm damage

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Gov. Mark Dayton on Tuesday said he is seeking a one-day special legislative session after Labor Day to approve state spending to assist southern Minnesota counties that suffered severe storm damage earlier this summer, the Star Tribune reports. Dayton pitched the special session proposal to legislators, but Republican leaders have not yet responded, the newspaper reports.

"We want to provide the financial assistance to the counties, cities and townships that were affected as quickly as possible," Dayton said, the newspaper reports.

Dayton said he wants the one-day session to focus on storm damage, and not other topics, including a new warehouse tax approved earlier this year. Some GOP leaders have called for a special session to repeal that tax, but Dayton and DFL leaders oppose that. Dayton has noted that the new tax takes effect in April next year, giving the Legislature next year plenty of time to revisit it before it takes effect.

Meanwhile, Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, has called for lawmakers to use part of any special session to revisit the issue of raising the minimum wage in Minnesota.

Public property damages in 18 Minnesota counties are estimated at about $17.8 million.

President Barack Obama signed a disaster relief declaration last month that frees up federal funding to help pay public infrastructure repair costs up to 75 percent.

To get the federal money, the state would have to commit to paying 25 percent of the repair costs.

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