‘Just in case’ scenario now in place


Viewed as a “just in case” scenario by some and others as a “let’s give up bill,” the so-called lights-on bill to keep government operating if there is no budget agreement passed the House 88-46.

The bill, SF2141, would keep government going if no other biennial appropriation bills are enacted. It was fast-tracked through the Senate and approved 45-19 Monday and onto the House floor. It now could move to the governor for action.

House Majority Leader Tony Sertich (DFL-Chisholm), the bill’s sponsor along with Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller (DFL-Mpls), called the bill “an option of a last resort.”

If no budget resolution is reached by May 18, the constitutional deadline for adjournment, the bill would cap state agency spending during fiscal year 2010 at the current spending levels.

“My hope is to end the Legislature on time with a complete budget, but as the Boys Scouts say, we should always be prepared,” Sertich said.

House Minority Leader Marty Seifert (R-Marshall) called it a “let’s give up bill,” and “lazy budgeting.” He said the bill makes no revenue provisions for the spending bills that have been and could be enacted, and would leave a $3 billion revenue gap.

If the bill were enacted, federal stabilization money received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and not allocated would come under the purview of the Legislative Coordinating Commission for receipt and distribution.