Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Out of the Oven and into the Dining Room. HF 2, the E-12 Education Omnibus Funding and Policy bill, is currently on the House floor. Representatives Greiling and Slawik, the chairs of the K-12 and Early Childhood Funding Divisions respectively, have just completed their presentation of the bill, along with House Education Policy Committee chair Carlos Mariani.

One thing I neglected to report last evening was that there are no revenue shifts, either in terms of the state revenue payment schedule or the early recognition of property taxes, in this bill. Those decisions are going to be postponed for now, as there is a funding gap of approximately $3 billion between the Legislature and the Governor in terms of overall revenue right now. The Governor recommended about $1.3 billion in shifts and $1.0 billion of bonding-for-cash along with greater cuts to Health and Human Services to bridge this gap. It appears right now that the House and Senate are going to pass "full" bills, meaning at the amount they intend to spend with the revenue to support that level of spending decided in another venue.

Negotiations over revenue issues continue and we have to keep in mind that if those conversations do not produce the revenue needed to support the level of spending in this and other appropriations bills. Stay tuned.

The debate on the House floor is very polite, with Republicans pointing out that the Governor proposed more funding for E-12 than what is in this bill. Of course, he was able to accomplish that through the aforementioned shifts, bonding-for-cash, and budget cuts in other areas, which has created the situation of loggerheads that we are experiencing right now.

Well, the roll has been taken and the bill has passed the House by a vote of 85-49, with all Republicans voting against the bill and one DFLer joining them.

So, it's onto the Senate.

By the way, here is the link to the bill language of HF 2:

The draft summary can be found at:

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