ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota legislative Republicans and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton differed Thursday over a plan to dip into state rainy-day funds to more swiftly pay schools for IOUs from past budget fixes.

The disagreement highlights a part of last summer’s deficit solution that is certain to resurface in the fall campaign. More than once in recent years, the state temporarily held back a portion of aid payments to schools to reduce its deficit. It now owes more than $2 billion to schools.

Now that the state’s finances are improving, Republicans say they feel comfortable tapping into a reserve fund so schools don’t have to wait as long for catch-up payments.

Under existing law, schools are due to see more than $300 million in debt repaid soon because state finance officials are projecting a budget surplus. The GOP bill, which cleared a House committee Thursday, would pare the state’s debt to schools by an additional $430 million.

“A prudent course of action when you have cash on hand is to pay off your debt,” said Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington.

Dayton and his budget commissioner warned that it would put the state’s finances at risk if the economic recovery falters.

The bill would leave about $577 million in the state’s checking and savings accounts. Dayton said he’s not comfortable drawing the balances down that far because it would be harder to react to a sudden downturn late in the budget cycle.

“Everybody wants to repay the schoolchildren,” Dayton said. “We shouldn’t have borrowed from them in the first place — wouldn’t have under my proposal. Now they’re trying to bail the legislators out before the election on the back of fiscal responsibility for all the citizens of Minnesota.”

The repayment plan is part of a broader bill that would also change teacher job security rules, which is controversial in its own right. The bill could get a House vote in coming weeks.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (31)
  1. See BS says:

    So after a Judge gave a small group of students almost 1/4 of a million dollars in Anoka Henn school district, public schools are having budget problems?

    1. Mike says:

      Hey BS, if I get am ticketed for speeding on my way into work this morning should that be dismissed because I can’t afford it? Stupid laws, right?

  2. John says:

    Dayton wants to give that money to Piggy Wilf.

    1. luvs says:

      Yep, look at him politicize this issue while at the same time trying to ram this $1.5 billion stadium down our throats.

  3. dan says:

    So what is Daytons plan? Love how we rip the GOP plan apart but offers nothing in return. Go have another drink Gov Goofy!

    1. Paul Solinger says:

      His plan is and always has been to tax the richest Minnesotans. He hasn’t wavered from his convictions.

      1. dan says:

        That wasnt done, it was voted down by a majority of our elected officials. The problem reminis that we need to repay education. You cant hang your hat on, if we would have, then we could have, so we would have, blah, blah, blah.

      2. Carl says:

        All problems can be solved by taxing the rich. We dont have to worry about how much we spend just increase tax revenues! I love it when my property taxes keep going up but the value of my home is falling. I guess I’m one of the “rich” that own real estate.

  4. questioning says:

    Republican figure they can always borrow more money when they need it. Borrow and spend is the Republican way.

    1. Rebubtotheend! says:

      Republican way!! You dont understand basic party politics. Spend money and republicans dont go togather. That is why we are called CONSERVATIVE!!! Your a welfare rat and a card carrying union boy who is told what to think and how to vote! Keep gov goofy and obama in power and we will all be wearing military uniforms and marching in the streets like comunist China. Wake up!!!

      1. Niki says:

        Wow, is life really that frightening for you? Republicans don’t believe in raising taxes, that is their platform…if they would have been willing to raise a few taxes on the states richest than the state wouldn’t have had to borrow from money that was supposed to go to the schools in the first place.

      2. Llp says:

        But borrow and spend do

      3. frozenrunner says:

        More people are wearing uniforms courtesy of the GOP.
        The GOP has spent far money by cutting revenue without an equal spending reduction than the Democrats have spent.

  5. Sandy says:

    I thojught that was the Democrate way, just give away all the money and not worry about where it is going to come from………….

  6. Murph says:

    GOP’ers, the top 2 money losing presidents in history are Bush 2 and Bush 1 ,in that order.No wonder your POTUS candidates get everything backwards.Save yourselves from another embarrassment and concede to Obama,you are pathetic!

    1. GH says:

      Where do you get your facts? Look how much Obama has spent in 3 years and compare it to Bush and his 8 years. I just love when liberals try to sound smart.

      1. Elwood says:

        Where are your facts, GH?

        1. Jason says:

          @ elwood There I did it for you.

      2. Llp says:

        Yep because howdy doody spent more and left us broke paying for un-needed wars which were not included in the budget. Just like Tim penchpenny wouldn’t, account for inflation in the budget. Smoke and mirror accounting.

      3. frozenrunner says:

        @ GH. Bush 2 spent more by cutting taxes without cutting revenue. The trillions in revenue that did not come because of the tax cuts were more than what Obama has spent.

  7. Llp says:

    How about we don’t pay the politicians their pay, health care, milage reimbursement and per deim untill it’s paid back they borrowed it. Maybe we could send it to collections. what  a joke our so called leaderrs from each party are. Oh I forget we voted for them oh well we got the best nasty mean spirted most ingorant politicians money can buy. Ya get what  ya  paid for.

  8. Best3800 says:

    How and when to pay back the schools should have been determined when the money was borrowed in the first place.repubs.couldn’t govern If their life depended on it

  9. eggbert says:

    The main point is we can’t afford to be handing money to Zygi. Forget the stadium, we have more important matters for the state to deal with.

  10. Goob says:

    EVERYWHERE republicans cut spending, always raises my taxes!!…whatta freekin’ joke they are!

    1. Clem H says:

      The Republicans JUST took control over the State House and Senate, that’s where the money had been spent dummy. When the state grows at double digits every year, you have a problem, spending has to stop. Raising taxes again and again is problematic for obvious reasons. I’m willing to bet that you pay very little in taxes relative to what you take out.

      1. Llp says:

        No I’m paying more in fees which really are taxes and higher property taxes

  11. John says:

    Dayton says that we can’t afford to pay back the schools, but yet he wants to give millions of dollar to a PRIVATE company to build a new football stadium, even though that company is able to spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year on its employees.

    1. Justin says:

      Dayton is a liar.

      He also says that building a stadium for Piggy Wilf will create jobs when every single economic study says the opposite.

  12. j speedbag64 says:

    i’m with you you on this one murph

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