It's the state government version of Joe Pesci's famous (and violent, NSFW) scene in Casino – using a pen to do some serious damage.
The governor on Friday vetoed five big budget bills that state lawmakers had passed. In doing so, he started to follow through on his recent promise to Republican leaders to block every single budget bill he thinks is unfair.
In fact, earlier this week he told the GOP-led House and Senate to pass them as soon as possible – just so he can veto them and they can get back to negotiating.
It's the first time since the 2011 Dayton has vetoed at least five of the standard omnibus finance bills (the term for wide-ranging spending proposals) from one legislative session. That year he put down nine of them.
Why is this happening?
This is the latest public maneuver from Dayton, a Democrat, in his battle with Republican state lawmakers. The GOP has a majority in both the House and Senate right now, so that party has a strong say in what policies and spending amounts are placed into these important final bills.
The governor of course can veto them.
He and Republican leaders negotiated intensely for five days over the budget bills, MinnPost's Briana Bierschbach reports. But then the lawmakers got frustrated things weren't moving faster with Dayton, so withdrew and plowed ahead, putting together and approving budget bills regardless of what the governor thought.
Five of them have now gotten cut down by the governor's pen, with Dayton calling them "unbalanced" and filled with "extreme budget cuts." More budget bills are still in the pipeline and will likely reach Dayton's desk next week.
Complicating matters: Things have to be done by the end of May 22. That's the law. So they've got 10 days to get this sorted all out.
But this weekend is also the governor's fishing opener. Dayton will be on a pontoon with top Republicans Rep. Kurt Daudt and Sen. Paul Gazelka – and he's said it'll be a day for fishing, not deal-making, KARE 11 reported.
If lawmakers and the governor don't agree on an overall state budget by the end of June, we could be dealing with our first government shut down since 2011.
The 5 omnibus bills Dayton vetoed
– The omnibus environment and natural resources finance bill. Dayton’s veto letter with his reasons is here.
– The omnibus state government, military and veterans affairs finance bill. Dayton’s veto letter with his reasons is here.