Dayton’s veto threat emblematic

Keelia Moeller

Gov. Mark Dayton’s frustration with Republicans became clear last week Tuesday when he announced he would veto an education bill they favored. 
 
Dayton has been strongly lobbying House Republicans and Senate Democrats to fund his universal pre-kindergarten program, which was left out of the proposal he nixed last week.
 
When his initial efforts were met with resistance, Dayton launched a last-ditch effort to get Republicans to spend at least $125 million on other educational necessities, offering to sign other budget bills and even drop his pre-K plan entirely. 
 
Again, Republicans rejected his proposal. The universal pre-K plan is rumored to have no support among Republicans — illustrating why Dayton’s final offer was to remove it from the table. But when Republicans such as House Speaker Kurt Daudt reject this plan, they illustrate that it’s not just the pre-K program they don’t support. 
 
The dispute with Republican lawmakers led Dayton to voice his intention to automatically veto  any bill that would fund education without providing for his universal pre-K plan. 
 
Yet again, Republicans have failed to meet Dayton in the middle. Republicans currently have a $1.9 billion projected surplus, and yet they refuse to invest in improving education, instead leaving $1 billion unspent to go toward potential tax cuts and transportation spending. 
 
The governor and legislative leaders have failed to come to an agreement over the past five months. With just a few weeks left in the fiscal year, Dayton hopes that a threat of shutting down the Department of Education will force the Republicans into a compromise. 
 
The fact is that it should not have come to this. Dayton can only extend an olive branch so far into the Republicans’ hands. At this point, it should be on their shoulders to find a new way to compromise and improve education.