Since the MN Supreme Court decision reversing unallotment came down, we have known that budget negotiations would have to go into the final hours of the session. But we are also facing new uncertainty about Federal funds that both sides were counting on to solve this biennium’s shortfall.
This means that the budget gap is now at about $3 B. Obviously, this is a significant amount concentrated into the final year of the biennium.
The plan proposed by the MN House and Senate majority addressed this new amount. It would ratify certain parts of the unallotments, such as delays and shifts in K-12 Education funding and in local government aid. What is significant about this plan is that it spreads the cuts more evenly that other proposals we have seen this yea. In addition, it plans on eventual restoration of the most important mental health related county grants and it raises new revenues through income taxes. If the $400 M in Federal money does arrive, some money is put back into health and human services.
Passed narrowly last night, it met an almost instant veto from Governor Pawlenty. There appears to be very little forward movement or compromise appearing. Pawlenty has asked again for the Legislature to ratify his solution, but it was voted down by large margins in the House.
As we’ve said before, we hope that you will ask your legislators about what they have done to make a workable compromise possible. There’s too much at stake to continue our present course of disappearing services and lost independence.