Wednesday, July 06, 2011

No Progress. From reading the news reports, it appears (let me stress the word appears) that the shutdown is nowhere near being settled and that anti-progress was made today. At this juncture, it appears (again let me stress the word appears) that the Governor is trying to find any proposal that will stick, but he can't find a taker from the legislative side of the equation. The main problem now appears (again let me stress the word appears) is that the Governor has begun talking about tax increases again (sales tax on clothing/temporary income tax surcharge for high income earners/cigarette tax increase) and in the eyes of legislative leadership, that has moved the process backwards.

I have included a link from the Minneapolis StarTribune the letter from the Governor to legislative leadership that spells out the details of his latest proposal. Note that the increase in the education aids shift from 70%/30% to 60%/40%--which saves the state $490 million on a one-time basis--is contained in both of the scenarios presented to legislative leadership.

Counter-proposals by legislative leadership to the Governor weren't published, but I can imagine proposals will be forthcoming, perhaps as early as tomorrow.

Link to proposals (scroll down below Zellers comments):

Also on the negotiating front, MPR reported this afternoon that Commissioner Cassellius and the Senate and House Education chairs--Senator Gen Olson and Representatives Sondra Erickson and Pat Garofalo--will be trying to find common ground on the various education policy items contained in HF 934 and HF 1381.

Some Special Education Notes. The Minnesota School Boards Association and the intermediate school districts petitioned the special master to classify special education services as essential last Friday and the Governor's office has now agreed with this stance and has also asked the special master to make certain special education revenue continues to flow to school districts during the shutdown.

The question that remains for me is what the level of the special education appropriation for the coming biennium. As the regular session ended, the Governor's last offer was to put an additional $128 million into the education appropriation to increase the basic formula by $50 per pupil unit per year and fully fund special education with the 4.6% growth factor for basic special education aid and 2.0% for the special education excess cost aid. As the offers were being shipped back and forth between the negotiating parties just prior to the shutdown, the status of special education was unclear and remains so as the parties continue to try and find common ground. Perhaps we won't know the answer on this issue until a final compromise is reached.

Panel of "Wise Men" to Convene. Two Minnesota statesmen have commissioned a panel in an attempt to build a compromise proposal that can hopefully end the government shutdown. Former Governor Arne Carlson and former Vice-President Walter Mondale will be heading up the panel, which will be chaired by former State Senator Steve Dille and former State Representative and Finance Commissioner Wayne Simoneau. Wells Fargo CEO James Campbell and Affinity Capital Management Kris Johnson will be representing the private sector on the panel.

Former state Finance Commissioners Jay Kiedrowski, John Gunyou, and Pam Wheelock have also volunteered to offer their input to the panel, as has former United States Senator Dave Durenberger.

StarTribune link on Panel:

No comments: