Let the Blogging Begin. It's the first of December so it's high time I dust off the keyboard and get back to blogging. It's been a somewhat uneventful interim, which is basically a good thing. With the mounds of economic bad news we've been seeing nationally (let me re-phrase that to an "absence of economic good news"), Minnesota's fall revenue forecast is expected to be a bad one with a possible revenue shortfall for the remainder of the biennium year in the neighborhood of $1 billion. Part of that is lagging revenue (at last report expected to be in the range of $240 million) and part of it may come through increased state expenditures, especially in the area of health care and income maintenance payment increases that would result from increased unemployment.
Another thing to remember is that although the picture for the remainder of this fiscal year (and by extension, the biennium) will likely be bad enough, things are really going to look ugly for the next biennium. The aid payment shift and property tax recognition shift are not in law and if they are not placed into the law, the problem for next biennium grows by $1.7 billion. Again, this does not affect the aid entitlement, but it does affect districts' cash flow and that more than one-third of Minnesota school districts have dramatically increased their short-term borrowing to meet their cash needs. Needless to say, tough decisions lie ahead.
I will provide you with the links to the revenue forecast documents when they are made available tomorrow.
Legislative Kick-Off Meeting. A group of SEE members met for a very interesting and comprehensive organizational meeting for the legislative kick-off event that is scheduled for Thursday, February 18, 2010, at the Kelly Inn just west of the State Capitol building. Things are obviously heating up for school districts and the problems are especially keen for SEE districts. If you have ideas for what you would like this event to entail, don't hesitate to contact either Deb Griffiths or myself.