Several GOP legislators are weighing in on Judge Gearin’s TRO ruling.
Here’s Rep. Laura Brod’s reaction:
Last session, the Democrats walked away from the negotiating table and gave up the leadership authority granted to them by the people of Minnesota and instead decided upon a strategy in which they simply criticize the Governor. Lacking real solutions to the budget problems, they took the easy way out. The Governor did the hard work for them. If Democrats cannot solve problems working with the Governor, they now have shown that they are willing to use the courts rather than legislate their way out of controversial and difficult decisions. Through their use of legislative resources, they even found a way to not even have to pay their legal billsâ€”but, unfortunately, the taxpayers will.
The focus on unallotment disquises a real long-term problem: spending is out of control and unsustainable. We need to do things differently. There is a clear need to prioritize our spending so that we do not continue to have deficit after deficit year after year. If the Democrats really wanted to solve the problem and minimize the Governor’s use of unallotment in the future, the solution is quite simple: donâ€™t spend more than you have.
Here’s Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer’s reaction:
Judge Gearin is the same one in the Frankin/Coleman Canvassing Board.
She says law says can do allotment only if an â€œunforeseenâ€ budget shortfall. That law does not qualify the ability of the governor to unallot. The DOR must ascertain that the condition exists and then the Governor can unallot. Gearin is wrong that there is a qualification of â€œunforeseenâ€.
Here is the link to a brief on it with a quote on this law.
Here’s Rep. Pat Garofalo’s reaction:
Whether it is unallotment or legislative action, the result will be the same…government will have to live within it’s means and trimmed in size.
Here’s House GOP Whip Dan Severson’s reaction:
This is just another example of over-reaching of judicial activism that is infringing on the separation of powers. If they really want to go there, we then need to legislatively restrict their ability to legislate from the bench.
I did a quick skim of the Research Department’s brief on unallotment. This section jumped out at me:
The first prerequisite to unallotment is that the Commissioner of Finance â€œdetermines that probable receipts for the general fund will be less than anticipated, and that the amount available for the remainder of the biennium will be less than needed…â€
I don’t know whether that condition existed at the time of Gov. Pawlenty’s announcement but I’m positive that that condition currently exists. In other words, even if Judge Gearin’s ruling stands, Gov. Pawlenty will be able to unallot the minute the TRO expires.
In other words, if Minnesota’s Supreme Court rules that Gov. Pawlenty should’ve waited until a deficit existed, the point would be moot in this instance. It appears as though the minute a deficit appears AND the budget reserve is exhausted, the governor has the authority to unallot.
UPDATE: King’s post on what Judge Gearin’s ruling means is today’s must reading.