DFL legislative leaders have released their proposal for balancing the state's nearly $3 billion budget deficit by the time the session legally must adjourn next Monday. And the essential trade-off appears to be this: DFLers will say yes to 80-85 percent of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's unallotment actions, including a ratification of his ad hoc $1.8 billion school payment shift, if the governor agrees to $[...]
Wednesday's Minnesota Supreme Court decision invalidating the one-man, $2.7 billion budget-balancing act undertaken last year by Gov. Tim Pawlenty left Democrats cheering and Republicans sniping, but the reaction was richly bipartisan in another sense: Everyone began scrambling to figure out what has to happen next and what the broader repercussions might be.
DFLers aren't the only ones that are mulling over the question of which unallotments to ratify or restore.
The K-12 omnibus bill that's expected to reach the House floor late this week already contains a provision ratifying Pawlenty's "mimic" of a K-12 education payment shift. That would solve $1.2 billion of the problem for bookkeeping purposes.
A panel of three administrative law judges has shot down the state House Republican Campaign Committee's complaint that a liberal-leaning Minnesota advocacy group misrepresented GOP House members in an online advertisement.
One of the first things they tell you in law school -- which is later confirmed by actual legal experience -- is that nine times out of ten the lines of questioning in oral argument are irrelevant to the reasoning of the ultimate decision.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty fired a warning shot over the Legislature's bow Friday afternoon, promising to "aggressively" protect the governor's unallotment authority.
Over the objections of Republicans on the committee, DFLers on a voice vote Tuesday agreed to hire outside counsel to prepare a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the plaintiffs in the ongoing litigation challenging one of Pawlenty's unallotments.
State budget problems won't be the only issue taken up by lawmakers in 2010. A raft of policy issues are expected to get time in the relevant House and Senate committees this session.
With the Legislature set to reconvene next month, DFLers are preparing to pass legislation that would constrain - or perhaps eliminate - the unallotment authority of the state's top official.
They say that politics makes for strange bedfellows, and never was that more true than in the unallotment case, which has put the office of DFL Attorney General Lori Swanson in charge of representing Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty in a case that has its genesis in a political showdown with DFL lawmakers.
Ramsey County District Chief Judge Kathleen Gearin's Dec. 30 order invalidating a $5.3-million human services cut made unilaterally by the Republican governor isn't taking center stage at the Legislature.
But if other groups affected by the $2.7 billion in unallotments also take Pawlenty to court, the budget hole could grow larger.
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