Saying it’s time for “politics as usual to end,” Gov. Tim Pawlenty said there will be no special session this year if the Legislature does not finish its work by the constitutional deadline.
“The people of Minnesota expect work to be done here on time,” he said in announcing that he would unallot, if necessary, to balance the upcoming biennial budget.
Flanked by 18 Republican legislators at a press conference, Pawlenty said that producing a balanced budget is the Legislature’s “most fundamental job.” However, he said the House and Senate have passed budget bills that leave an anticipated $3 billion shortfall between revenues and expenses.
“A key principle is that the DFL-controlled Legislature shouldn’t spend more money than the state has available,” Pawlenty said. “Unfortunately, they have done just that and now I’ll fix it.”
Pawlenty plans to sign all the omnibus finance bills sent to him; however, some will be line-item vetoed. The governor would also use his unallotment authority at the start of fiscal year 2010, on July 1, 2009, to make up the shortfall. Refusing to be more specific, Pawlenty said unallotment targets could include health and human services, local government aid and higher education.
Pawlenty said he is “confident” that House Republicans would not support an override of a tax bill veto.
The governor will do what all families are doing by looking at what they have and living within their means, said Senate Minority Leader David Senjem (R-Rochester).
Pawlenty insists e would rather work out a compromise with legislative leaders. “There’s still a good chunk of time between now and midnight Monday. … I prefer to reach an agreed upon solution.”
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