Still No Progress on Omnibus Supplemental Appropriations Bill. It would be difficult to call this glacial, because glacial implies some movement, but we're sitting still on the omnibus supplemental appropriations bill. Floor sessions went long today, making it unlikely the conference committee would meet. It is difficult to determine what the hold-up has been, but even in a year when the budget outlays are purely supplemental and don't affect the on-going budget base to a great degree, there are a number of bills that need to be meshed--particularly the bonding bill--to ensure a smooth ending to the session.
Senate Releases Bonding Bill. The Senate has released its version of the bonding bill, which proposes to spend approximately $1.1 billion on construction projects. One puzzler to me is why the Senate is proposing to spend $200 million of the surplus on these projects as opposed to bonding for the whole amount. With all the carping about the uncertainty of the budget situation for the next biennium that's been taking place in the omnibus supplemental appropriations bill, it doesn't make much sense to take $200 million off the bottom line for the remainder of this biennium as opposed to putting into the budget reserve. Further, interest rates continue to remain low, which makes bonding a bargain. I realize there are other considerations that go into the decision to use cash instead of bonding, but it's always a puzzler to me.
Here is the MinnPost story on the Senate bonding bill: http://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2014/05/billion-dollar-senate-dfl-construction-bill-spoonbridge-and-lots-statewide-c