WILLMAR, MN and AITKIN, MN—Assistant Majority Leader and Vice Chair of the Job Growth and Energy Affordability Committee Rep. Dave Baker, R-Willmar, and Vice Chair of the Mining and Outdoor Recreation Policy Committee Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, issued the following statement regarding Governor Mark Dayton’s veto of the bipartisan Jobs and Energy Omnibus bill, as well as the bipartisan Environment and Agriculture Omnibus bill.
The Jobs and Energy bill contained provisions that would extend unemployment benefits to workers impacted by the recent avian influenza epidemic that has devastated flocks in at least 21 Minnesota counties, as well as iron ore workers in Itasca, St. Louis, and Lake County impacted by recent Northern Minnesota mine closings.
“We are extremely disappointed and troubled by Governor Dayton’s bipartisan budget bill vetoes,” Baker said. “Playing politics with the lives of farmers who have been devastated by the avian flu is simply wrong. Minnesotans chose shared government last November and expect legislators as well as the governor to compromise and work together on the issues facing our state.”
“Vetoing a bill containing help for our mining communities sends the wrong message to folks on the Iron Range. They are in need of our help—not more vetoes and political games,” added Lueck.
The Agriculture and Environment bill included significant funding for state agencies tasked with combating avian flu, as well as $10 million for the Rural Finance Authority to make loans for avian flu-related disaster recovery.
"The Governor's veto delays significant avian flu funding for agencies who have been battling the epidemic, delays disaster assistance loans for our farmers, and risks further delay in tackling and putting a stop the spread of the disease," Baker added. "It's time for the Governor to stop playing political games with the budget and risking harm and uncertainty for thousands of families across the state."
The Jobs and Energy bill received bipartisan support in the House and the Senate passing by a combined margin of 109-38. The Environment and Agriculture bill also received bipartisan support, passing by a combined margin of 118-80. These are the second and third vetoes of bipartisan budget bills by Governor Dayton, who forced a special session by vetoing the E-12 Education Omnibus bill that included $400 million in increased funding for schools and early learning programs.