MN Hospitality Advocate

What the Unallotment Ruling Means

Posted in Uncategorized by hospitalityminnesota on May 5, 2010

The Minnesota Supreme Court in a 4-3 decision today ruled that Governor Pawlenty crossed a constitutional line into legislative turf when he used his unallotment authority to unilaterally cut spending by $2.7 billion last July to balance the state’s budget. While the court ruled on only one specific instance of unallotment, the general consensus is that the application of the ruling is much broader, calling into the question all of the Governor’s unallotment decisions.

With just a few weeks left in the session, the legislature and Governor must now agree on a course of action. The legislature could simply ratify the cuts Pawlenty made, thereby making “legal” his previous action. The legislature could ratify some of the Governor’s unallotments, such as the $1.5 billion education shift, and then argue over other cuts to achieve a balanced budget as mandated by law. The legislature could reject all of the Governor’s actions, creating a situation in which the full deficit must be addressed with new cuts or revenue streams (and it seems unlikely that Pawlenty would support any tax increase). This ruling will likely throw this session into many late nights over the next few weeks.

To read more about the unallotments, check out the Minnesota Public Radio NewsCut Blog or MPR NewsQ.

David Siegel, CAE, IOM
Minnesota Restaurant, Lodging and Resort & Campground Associations and Hospitality Minnesota

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