Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Our perpetually petulant governor - Part MDXCVII

If Minnesota Democrat voters are capable of any shame, they should be repulsed at the behavior of this state's chief executive.

An irritated Gov. Mark Dayton lashed out at Republican lawmakers on Tuesday, saying he would veto a bill that funds education without providing money for his top priority of universal pre-kindergarten.

For the past week, Dayton had intensely lobbied House Republicans and Senate Democrats to add spending for his pre-K plan for four-year-olds.

In the final hours of the legislative session, Dayton said he offered to sign all of the other budget bills and even to drop the pre-K plan. In exchange, he wanted Republicans to agree to spend $125 million more on other education items. He said Republicans rejected both offers.

Dayton said he was told there is no support for universal pre-K among Republican legislators.

Actually, Little Lord Fauntleroy  Dayton is lying by omission. It wasn't just the GOP who withheld support.

Senator Dave Thompson (R-Lakeville) breaks it down.

Yes, the message came abundantly clear from the Senate in particular. The Democrats have a 39-28 majority in that body and yet said chamber voted 52-14 to approve the education bill without Dayton's crown jewel of Universal Pre-K. Gonna be a tough sell to lay that at the feet of Senate Republicans, which is why Dayton is perpetually ripping the GOP-controlled House.

So why is Dayton so hell bent on funding for this program that has virtually no support (not even from the Early Learning Council he appointed)?

Bingo! The unions. It's always about the unions with him. Remember two years ago when he and fellow Dems (who controlled all offices of state government in 2013) bent over backwards to pass legislation to unionize in-home child care workers (most whom are independent business owners)? Yep. All to pay back his supporters among the public employee unions.

Finally, Rep. Jim Nash (R-Waconia) shared this post on his Facebook page.

So Governor Dayton just vetoed the bipartisan House/Senate K-12 omnibus bill because we didn't fund his Universal PreK plan. NEITHER the House (GOP controlled) or the Senate (DFL controlled) voted to fund Univ PreK!

Let me share with you some of the points that were shared with me by our local 110 ISD Superintendent.

"The proposed Universal Pre-K costs for Waconia Public Schools would be devastating to our school district. It is not a concept that is supported by our parents, school, or community. The data for school readiness at Waconia Schools does not support the need for a Universal program.

Here are some of the concerns/costs:

• We have no facilities available for this and would need to lease or build for an additional 10-15 classrooms……..a huge burden on our taxpayers. Newly built would be about a $17,000,000 cost or about a 5-10% tax hike.

• We would need to hire 10-15 preschool licensed teachers (due to shortage they are not available)......a yearly cost of about $350,000 - $525,000.

• Additional busing needed

• Additional supplies and equipment needed

• Additional utilities to the building needed

• Other staff beyond teachers that would be needed.

• We would need to levy to cover the additional costs or cut current programs and raise class size to accommodate this program


If many other school Superintendents echo these same concerns to Gov. Dayton himself, perhaps it would allow him to save face. He could simply turn around and say that "many educational leaders have expressed legitimate concerns over universal pre-K and therefore it would be prudent to research this issue further. "

Yeah I know that's probably a long shot given the fact I'm operating under the pretense that Dayton is capable of a rational tone.



jerrye92002 said...

Question: When the special session is called, can't they just override Dayton's veto and go home? Sounds like they have the votes.

Brad said...

Great question, Jerry. My understanding is the Legislature can't override the current veto since it took place after they adjourned. However, once a special session were called, the Legislature can reintroduce the bill, re-pass it and then attempt to override a second veto should one occur. However, that is unlikely to happen since a special session is typically not called until the Gov. and Legislature have reached an agreement beforehand.

The Ed. bill passed the Senate 52-14, meaning there'd likley be enough votes for an override. However, it got through the House at 71-59, well short of 90 votes required. I have a hard time seeing 19 DFLers flipping.

jerrye92002 said...

OK, I understand the scenario you describe. So let me imagine what will take place instead. The lege currently has no place to meet, so a special session will have to wait until that little nut is cracked. The Lege already passed the bill they wanted, and there is going to be little desire to "compromise" with a governor over $150 million in a $15 billion bill. Meanwhile, the gov gets ALL the blame for keeping money AWAY from the schools, just to get something that will take MORE money away from the schools. I'm going to take a wild guess that the DFL won't let the Gov twist in the wind indefinitely, though. They'll talk the GOP into saving his face by agreeing to add even more money, maybe even the whole $150M, onto the already expanded pre-K scholarship program for "at-risk" kids, then claim it's "closer" to universal pre-K than we were. That's politics at its dirtiest, but hey, what do expect from politicians that never have an original thought?