A lone district judges ruling has pushed the day of reckoning for Minnesotas governmental leaders to a much faster arrival date. This was needed.
A Ramsey County District judge, in a ruling ordering reinstatement of funds cut to a special supplemental aid program by Gov. Tim Pawlentys unallotment, said such authority was misused. Pawlenty says he will appeal and may even re-establish unallotments in the wake of the new forecast.
Nothing has changed that makes us think that will happen any easier than before.
Pawlentys January budget proposed delaying K-12 payments and some expensive bonding. The House DFL rejected bonding and offered up new taxes and cuts - but it kept the K-12 payment shift as a solution and even added to it.
The Senate DFL upped the political ante even more by proposing tax increases of almost 50 percent that would have hit every Minnesotan hard and cutting even more than the governor or the House wanted from the general fund.
The two DFL chambers couldn't reach any compromise all through the session, and Pawlenty, rather than trying to broker a deal, used his veto pen to the legislative budget and cut the $1 billion tax bill and shifted the $1.8 billion K-12 payment to a later date. His unallotments did not produce the savings and created a financial crisis for someone else to deal with later.
The state now looks at a 2010 with $1.2 billion shortfall in the current legislative year and a whopping $5.5 billion for two years after that. Analysts are predicting that delayed payment is more of a budget cut that schools will have to absorb.
Other suits will surely be coming challenging the unallotments.
More importantly, it should bring our states leaders back to the table to do what should have been done in the first place - make those tough decisions for the future. Businesses and households across the country have had to deal with the shaken economy in a far faster fashion than the state has.
- The Free Press of Mankato
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.