Newspaper article

As Negotiations Stall over Special Session, Dayton Faces Decision on Tax Bill

Newspaper article

As Negotiations Stall over Special Session, Dayton Faces Decision on Tax Bill

Article excerpt

Gov. Mark Dayton's office received so many letters that he decided to hold a press conference Friday instead of responding to them all.

The letters in question were regarding an estimated $100 million problem with the tax cut bill passed by lawmakers on May 22, of of the final nights of the 2016 session. Tucked inside the 277-page bill, legislators accidentally included an "or" in place of an "and," and the result could expand a tax cut meant specifically for bingo halls to include all establishments selling pull-tabs.

In a letter to Republicans, Dayton said the error could not be fixed without calling a special session of the Legislature. Without a full vote from lawmakers to fix the statute, the language could wind up in the courts, he said.

Republican Speaker Kurt Daudt responded with his own letter, saying the one-word error can be remedied without a special session, via a provision that lets lawmakers clarify their intent. Republican House Taxes Chairman Greg Davids sent a similar letter to Dayton laying out possible options. And then Senate Minority Leader David Hann also sent a letter -- this one to all four caucus leaders, asking them to sign yet another letter stating their true intent for the law.

That's a lot of letters.

But in modern-day politics, letters generally aren't a sign of progress. And the back-and-forth between lawmakers didn't bring them any closer to resolving the issue with the tax bill, which Dayton isn't expected to sign Monday -- a move that would mean its failure via the constitutional provision known as a pocket veto.

With that, tax cuts for college students, families with child- care costs and property tax reductions to help construct a Major League Soccer stadium in St. Paul will not become law.

"I've received too many letters to respond to each one individually so I wanted to restate my position here," Dayton said Friday. …

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