Friday, April 27, 2007

Special Session, Government Shutdown?

By Tom Prichard

With a little over four weeks until the legislature is required by the
state constitution to conclude it's work (May 22nd), most Capitol insiders
expect a special session. Governor Pawlenty has staked out a strong
position on not raising taxes and DFL leaders in the legislature have a lot
of special interest groups expecting more money and benefits. DFL Senate
has already voted to raise taxes by over $1.25 billion dollars.

So I don't expect things to be resolved by May 22. Often times governors
won't call the legislature back into session until a deal is struck. Or
Pawlenty could force them to keep working by immediately calling a special
session. The last time there was a government shutdown, the state
legislature took a lot of heat in the next election. If that were to happen
now, DFL legislators in the House could take a big hit in the 2008
elections. I think Pawlenty should hang tough. The state already has
budget surplus of over $2 billion and spending is projected to go up 9.3%
over the next two years under his budget. At a time when personal income
grew only 3.8% in the last reporting year, the legislature doesn't need to
double that in increased government spending.