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This Is Responsible Education Budgeting?

Category: Education
Posted: 03/19/12 07:08

by Dave Mindeman

Rep. Pat Garofalo is pleased with himself...again. He has offered a bill that will shift money from the budget reserve to the schools as a partial payment of the accumulated school shift. This proposal has passed the House.

Sounds reasonable in a way. Well, reasonable if you believe in a scenario where your neighbor borrows a hundred dollars from you, pays back $5 and wants you to thank him for his effort.

The problem with Garofalo's math is that reducing the budget reserve puts the State's cash flow in jeopardy. Maybe not serious jeopardy right now, but if the Minnesota recovery hits a snag, then we may need to cover short term funding. If we don't have it when we need it, our credit rating could be affected.

That was the reason that the majority of House Democrats voted against the bill and allowed Garofalo to smirk his way through another Almanac appearance last Friday.

Having said all that, the schools need to get reimbursement just about any way they can.

ISD 196 is going to have to borrow money again. And let's be very clear about this, this is not because of some fiscal mismanagement on their part. This is about replacing money that has been budgeted for them but which they are not receiving due to state shifting.

Garofalo thinks he is doing them a big favor to shift money back.

The bottom line is that the school districts would take it. They will take anything they can get. It is hard to control your budget when your main source of income is in a holding pattern.

This is the fallacy of GOP Legislative budgets. They tell us that they gave us a responsible budget. No taxes. No new revenue. They held the line.

But did they?

We have new interest options from the tobacco bonds. We have school shifts sitting out there that school districts are borrowing to replace. We have property taxes that have increased because the home stead credit was eliminated and LGA funds were cut again.

But they don't talk about those problems. They prefer that you ignore the pickpocket behind you.

We are supposed to just smile and pay the accumulating interest.

comments (2) permalink
03/19/12 10:47
There are somewhere around 400 school districts in MN. Garofalo is talking about distributing something less than $400 million. Now not all districts have the same debt levels, but here in 196 it's about $90 million in shifted monies, with about a $10 million rider in interest and costs, so if each district gets about $1million from Garofalo, then District 196 will get about 1 penny on each dollar of debt. The days of penny candy is long gone...exactly what will we treat ourselves to with the penny?
May be best to keep the State itself financially stable and hold off distributing pennies.
03/19/12 08:05

How can Garofalo's proposal be looked at any way but as an election year ploy ... the MN-GOP know what they did to the schools (as well as to LGA, et al) ... they know people are angry about the change in property tax calculations ... so they play an accounting game (I like the $5 payback comparison - THANK YOU, Representative Garofalo ... may I have another). Wanna bet that Chris Gerlach is already printing up the campaign literature proclaiming that the MN-GOP is "fighting for schools which the DFL opposed."

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