Legislature Funded….Maybe

How Far Do LCC Funds Go?

Minnesota Capitol
Minnesota Capitol

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The Minnesota legislature was recently able to claim $26 million in reserves from the Legislative Coordinating Commission (LCC).

Last week the Minnesota Supreme Court decided not to restore the appropriations for the Minnesota legislature, after finding a line item veto by Dayton, performed last spring, to be constitutional.

Even before the MN Supreme Court’s decision, however, the Minnesota Senate was making preparations by shutting down all functions of the Senate at the beginning of December and furloughing all staff until funding was restored. This was seen as a worst case scenario.

The Minnesota legislature voted to secure a considerable amount of funding from the LCC, through both the LCC carry forward funding from the previous biennium, while also defunding all 2019 appropriations for the LCC, meaning the LCC will be completely defunded during this time.

An amendment made during the vote stipulates that the money cannot be used for payments on the new Minnesota Senate building. Many have claimed earlier that if Minnesota defaults on these payments it could severely hurt Minnesota’s credit rating.

While the funding by the LCC was a temporary band aid, it was clear that these funds will only be able to keep the legislature running until the beginning of next session. Some kind of compromise will need to be worked out with the governor during the course of the 2018 session.

Many are still angry at Dayton and the Minnesota Supreme Court for letting the situation deteriorate to this point.

“Regardless of political affiliation, the unchecked power of the governor over the legislative body is dangerous and creates an unnecessary situation for our great state,” Senator Andrew Lang said, “It also sets a precedent for future governors to follow – Republican and Democrat alike. It gives the governor a political trump card that cannot be negotiated with. This is not partisan political infighting; it represents a clear assault on the constitution of Minnesota.”

At the end of the day, the MN legislature will be forced to continue to debate Dayton and bring him to the negotiating table if they are to be kept in existence for all of the next legislative session.

“The Legislature has no reason to resume negotiations to restore its vetoed funds and to correct its excessive special interest tax reductions, which will jeopardize Minnesota’s future financial stability,” Dayton said following the decision of the Minnesota Supreme Court, “So it is time for us all to agree that this dispute has been concluded and resume working together for the best interests of Minnesota.”

It is clear, however, this dispute is far from over and may have many dangerous consequences for Minnesota.

Henry Carras