Dayton administration warns of cuts to veterans' servicesby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature are balking at claims by the state Veterans Affairs commissioner that their budget would result in significant cuts to veterans programs.
Commissioner Larry Shellito wrote a letter to lawmakers claiming that the proposed cuts would result in a closure of a Veterans Home, increase fees for a in the State Veterans Cemetery in Little Falls and force 117 layoffs in the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Republicans say Gov. Mark Dayton's administration is mischaracterizing their budget proposal.
But Michelle Kelm-Helgen with Dayton's office told state lawmakers that their plan to erase $5 billion in spending will result in cuts.
"I have sat through this and have listened to people say that the intention is not to cut agriculture, the intention was not to cut corrections, the intention was not to cut veterans or military affairs. But someone will be cut. There are very real cuts in that bill," Kelm-Helgen said.
Dayton and GOP legislative leaders are at odds over the best way to solve a $5 billion projected budget deficit. Dayton wants to raise income taxes on Minnesota's top earners. Republicans say they can balance the budget through spending cuts alone.