Gov. Dayton calls on majority to put kids over corporate special interests

A North Branch mother of two school-aged kids says Governor Mark Dayton is “making the right choice.”

On April 5, Gov. Dayton vetoed legislation that would have made a one-time payment from the state budget reserves to pay back the $2.4 billion owed to kids, instead supporting a plan that pays back the entire debt by closing corporate tax loopholes.

In his veto letter, the governor called out the legislative majority because it decided that “protecting large corporations’ tax breaks for operating overseas was more important than paying back our schools responsibly.”

Minnesota borrowed $2.4 billion from schools over recent years instead of raising fair revenue to balance the state budget. This accounting gimmick has forced school districts to borrow, cut and levy in order to make up for the missing funding they are owed.

“I’m glad to see Gov. Dayton is making the right choice,” said Robin Dial of North Branch, a mother of two school aged kids. “Our kids should be a priority, and it’s good that the governor is calling for a plan to pay back all the money that the state borrowed from our schools. It’s going to take a lot more than a one-time payment to bring back a five day school week to North Branch or a music program to my daughter’s school.”

The governor vetoed legislation that would have made a one-time $430 million payment, leaving $2 billion in IOUs to Minnesota’s schools with no plan to pay that back. DFLers introduced legislation this session that closed corporate tax loopholes for companies sheltering profits in countries like Grenada and Bahrain to pay back the billions owed to schools. The majority in the House and Senate rejected this legislation, instead opting for a one-time payment from the state’s rainy day funds.

“I just think it’s terrible that the Legislature again chose corporations over kids,” said Andrea Running of South St. Paul, a public school parent. “Minnesota kids are being shortchanged, and corporations continue to get special treatment. It’s about time Minnesota got its priorities right.”

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