Dayton vetoes MNGOP plan to partially reimburse school districts
Our heads were spinning Monday as the MNGOP pushed a plan to spend money on public school through the legislature.
The bill would've used the state budget reserve to reimburse districts $430 million of the $2.4 billion the state owes them. But Democrats, playing the unlikely role of budgetary watchdogs, opposed the GOP plan, arguing that the MNGOP wants to drain budget reserves at a time when the state's long-term financial outlook remains murky.
This morning, Gov. Dayton announced that stands with DFL legislators and will veto the school payback bill.
MPR's Tom Scheck, covering Dayton's a.m. press conference, offered up the following:
Dayton on plan "action would wrongly perpetuate the terrible legislative practice of the past decade;..." (1 of 2)-- tomscheck (@tomscheck) April 5, 2012
Dayton "trying to solve an immediate financial problem by substituting a larger problem." (2 of 2)-- tomscheck (@tomscheck) April 5, 2012
From Fox 9's Jeff Goldberg:
Gov. Dayton vetoes GOP bill that would have paid back k-12 school shift. Says it would have "raided" state budget reserves.-- Jeff Goldberg (@jgoldbergfox9) April 5, 2012
During the press conference, Dayton reiterated his desire, shared by DFL legislators, to create a funding stream to reimburse schools by closing corporate loopholes. That would allow the the state to give the districts what's owed them without touching the budget reserve.
But on the heels of two more-positive-than-expected budget estimates, Republican lawmakers argue the reserve is sufficiently replenished to justify giving districts $430 million now.
On Monday, Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington and chairman of the House Education Finance Committee, called opponents of the plan "deadbeat Democrats" and said, "when you have cash on hand, the first thing you do is, you pay your debts."
But Minnesota Management & Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter sees things differently. From the Star Tribune's Rachel Stassen-Berger:
MMB Commish says Minnesota's cash flow situation is "very perilous" and #mnleg's school shift bill would have made it worse.-- R. Stassen-Berger (@RachelSB) April 5, 2012
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.