The Catholic Spirit: School choice legislation fails to pass, but MCC sees ‘marriage-friendly’ welfare win at session’s end

(May 31, 2017 – The Catholic Spirit – Maria Wiering)

The final omnibus bills demonstrated concessions from both major parties, but they were “geared to reach certain electoral constituencies or serving special interests,” he said, pointing the finger at both sides of the aisle.

The session began Jan. 3 and ended May 22, but legislators went into a special session to finalize omnibus spending bills, finishing the session’s work at 3 a.m. May 26. The final budget bills — which Gov. Mark Dayton signed May 30 — included some funds that support MCC-backed policies, but not the school choice tax credits that MCC made its No. 1 priority for the session.

The Opportunity Tax Credit Scholarship bill aimed at helping families afford nonpublic school tuition made it to a budget bill Dayton vetoed mid-May, but it was omitted in the final compromise bill.

The legislation “was certainly an important goal of Republican leaders, but in the end not a must-have,” Adkins said. “Senate Republican leadership preferred to get things done on time and not fight for it if it would break a compromise, and Republican leadership would have rather had tax credits for tobacco companies and the estates of multi-millionaires. Those special interests took precedence over the needs of low- and middle-income families. … And that’s just frankly sad.”

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