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Minnesota Government Update


June 19, 2009



Governor Tim Pawlenty Announces Unallotment Recommendations
On Tuesday, June 16, Governor Pawlenty announced his plan to balance the state budget through executive action. Pawlenty and Commissioner of Management and Budget Tom Hanson presented their recommendations to resolve the projected $2.676 billion budget gap for the 2010-2011 fiscal year via the use of unallotment.
 
Proposed unallotments include:
  • $1.77 billion in K-12 education payment deferrals and adjustments;
  • $236 million in cuts to human services programs;
  • $200 million in cuts to local government aid to cities and townships;
  • $169 million through administrative actions;
  • $100 million in cuts to local aids and credits to counties;
  • $100 million in cuts to higher education;
  • $67 million in reductions of refunds and other payments; and
  • $33 million in reductions to most state agency operating budgets (approximately 2.25 percent per agency).
 
The recommendations were heard on Thursday, June 18 before the Legislative Advisory Commission (LAC). Commissioner Hanson and the Governor will incorporate suggestions from the LAC before finalizing the plan. The proposed unallotments will start taking effect July 1, 2009; however many of the reductions are weighted toward the second year of the biennium. This delay allows the Legislature time to work on other solutions during the 2010 legislative session and gives those impacted time to plan ahead.
 
The DFL leadership responded harshly to Pawlenty's proposal suggesting the Governor is abusing the unallotment process. Senate DFL Assistant Majority Leader Tarryl Clark states, "He's not a tsar; he's not an emperor; he's not a Grand Poo-Bah. He's a governor." Clark cited only six uses of unallotment in the state's history. At the LAC meeting, Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher (DFL-Minneapolis) suggested the Governor's proposal creates a permanent deficit for the state saying, "This is the Governor's gift to the state which is a permanent deficit situation. And I can understand why he would want to cut and run at this point because this is a bleak, bleak situation."
 
The LAC will reconvene later this month for further discussion of the Governor's unalloment proposal.

2010 Gubernatorial Race is Wide Open
With Governor Tim Pawlenty's announcement that he will not seek a third term, interest in the gubernatorial race has increased exponentially. Republican candidates who have announced an intention to run or have officially filed for campaign committees include:
 
  • State Representatives Paul Kohls (R-Victoria) and Marty Seifert (R-Marshall);
  • Commissioner of Labor and Industry and former Speaker of the House Steve Sviggum;
  • Former state Auditor Pat Anderson;
  • Former state Representative Bill Hass from Champlin.

Those that have expressed an interest in running are:
  • State Senators Geoff Michel (R-Edina), David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) and Paul Koering (R-Fort Ripley);
  • State Representatives Morrie Lanning (R-Moorhead) and Laura Brod (R-New Prague);
  • Charlie Weaver - former state Representative from Anoka, former Chief of Staff for Pawlenty, current Executive Director of the Minnesota Business Partnership.
 
Two potential Republican candidates have announced they are not running, businessman and Republican National Committeeman Brian Sullivan and state Senator Dick Day. A few other Republican names mentioned as potential candidates include former U.S. Representative Jim Ramstad, former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman, U.S. Representative Michelle Bachman, state Senators Michelle Fischbach of Paynesville and Dave Senjem of Rochester, Representative Tom Emmer of Delano and David Olson, President of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.
 
On the DFL side those who have stated an intention to run are:
  • State Senators Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) and John Marty (DFL-Roseville);
  • Mark Dayton - former U.S. Senator;
  • Former House Minority Leader and founder of Minnesota 2020 Matt Entenza from Saint Paul;
  • Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner;
  • State Representative Paul Thissen (DFL-Minneapolis);
  • Former state Senator Steve Kelley; and
  • Perennial candidate Ole Savior.
 
The list of those who have expressed an interest in running will likely grow, but as it stands now on the DFL side add Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson Kelliher (DFL-Minneapolis), Mayor of Minneapolis R.T. Rybak, Mayor of Saint Paul Chris Coleman and state Senator Tarryl Clark (DFL-Saint Cloud).
 
Independents Dean Barkley, former U.S. Senator, and Stephen Williams might jump into the race as well.

House Republican Caucus Leader Post Up for Grabs
Because current GOP Caucus Leader Marty Seifert has stepped down to run for Governor, the House Republicans will meet next week to elect a new leader. Four names have surfaced as potential candidates for the leader slot. Kurt Zellers from Maple Grove, is a four term member who serves as lead on Commerce issues, Assistant Minority Leader Randy Demmer, Hayfield, serving his fourth term, Tom Emmer from Delano serving his third term and Minority Whip Dan Severson from Sauk Rapids who is in his fourth term. The caucus plans to announce their decision on June 24.

For up-to-date information about the Minnesota Legislature, tune into Almanac: At the Capitol. This lively and informative program is aired Wednesdays during the legislative session on Twin Cities Public Television at 7:00 PM on Channel 17 and at 10:00 PM on Channel 2.

Almanac: At the Capitol is seen on all public television stations throughout Minnesota and in Fargo. Winthrop & Weinstine is the exclusive law-firm partner and a sponsor of the program.

For more information and to see previous broadcasts, check out the
Almanac: At the Capitol Web site at http://tpt.org/aatc/.
  • Governor Tim Pawlenty Announces Unallotment Recommendations
  • 2010 Gubernatorial Race is Wide Open
  • House Republican Caucus Leader Post Up for Grabs
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