Minnesota Governor Includes Higher Ed Funding Bill in Glut of Vetoes

May 17, 2017

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton included a higher education budget bill in a spate of vetoes Monday, arguing the legislation does not spend enough on the state's universities and student aid while criticizing several other provisions.

Dayton, a Democrat, is embroiled in a budget standoff with Republican leaders in charge of the Minnesota Legislature. Minnesota faces a key budget deadline in less than a week, but Dayton decided to veto appropriations bills while warning Republicans not to embed policy changes in spending measures.

In a veto letter on the higher education bill, Dayton wrote that the Legislature funded less than 39 percent of his requested $318 million investment. He specifically called out smaller investments in need-based aid than he proposed. Dayton went on to call out a “lack of investment in core mission support” at the University of Minnesota and a lack of investment in campus support at Minnesota State. Further, Dayton criticized the Republican bill for setting tuition at Minnesota State instead of leaving tuition-setting powers in the hands of appointed trustees, which, he argued, would likely lead to layoffs, fewer course offerings and diminished support services.

The governor also took issue with provisions related to health training and cybersecurity, among others.

Republicans have said they are not willing to write a blank check to the governor without policy reforms and that inserting policy provisions in spending bills is not unusual, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

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