Minnesota Senate Will Run Out of Money by December

Image Credit: Preya Samsundar/Alpha News MN

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Between the two chambers, the Minnesota Legislature has $16.68 million remaining in their accounts, a figure insufficient to carry one chamber through the rest of 2017.

Gov. Mark Dayton line item vetoed the entirety of the legislature’s appropriations at the close of session, triggering a constitutional crisis over the continued existence of Minnesota’s legislative branch.

The ongoing legal dispute made it up to the Minnesota Supreme Court. There the court ordered the governor and the legislature to head back to mediation. Part of that process required the legislature to submit to the court a document detailing its current financial state.

According to the document the legislature submitted, the House had a balance on Sept. 1 of just over $10.68 million, while the Senate had roughly $6 million.

The House estimates it will spend an average of $2.5 million each month going forward, while the Senate is slightly higher at $2.56 million. This is roughly in line with what the two chambers reported spending in July and August, though the Senate’s August spending this year totalled $3.23 million. This is because it was not until August that they received an invoice from the Department of Administration for July’s rent on the Minnesota Senate Building, and they ended up paying two months of rent in August as a result.

At those rates, the Senate estimates that it will exhaust all of its resources after paying payroll on December first. The House will expire under the same conditions a few months later, in February of 2018.

Most of this funding goes towards paying staff members. The loss of funding for these staff members may have the end result of forcing a government shutdown as the money to pay the people who run the show dries up.

Anders Koskinen