Unallotment modification gets committee approval

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The House State and Local Government Operations Reform, Technology and Elections Committee approved a bill that would change the way the governor can use unallotment during a budget deficit.

HF2866, sponsored by Rep. Lyndon Carlson Sr. (DFL-Crystal), would limit the expenditure amounts the governor can eliminate to no more than 2 percent of the General Fund, could not go beyond 10 percent of any appropriation and would limit an unallotment to any portion of a projected deficit that was not known at the completion of the legislative session.

David Schultz, a professor in the Hamline University School of Business, said the current process violates the separation of powers by effectively giving the governor the power to veto legislation a second time.

Rep. Mark Buesgens (R-Jordan) said that while the current statute may be a matter of philosophical differences, by only allowing fixed percentages it could possibly force a governor to call a special session if the amount unallotted wouldn’t solve the budget deficit.

The bill now goes to the House Finance Committee.

A companion, SF2566, sponsored by Sen. Richard Cohen (DFL-St. Paul), awaits action by the Senate State and Local Government Operations and Oversight Committee.

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