DFL Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller said on MPR's Midday today that he would like to see Gov. Pawlenty deliver a budget address to the Minnesota Legislature. Pogemiller said he wants Pawlenty to appear before the Legislature to map out a direction on the budget before the legislative session begins next month.
The state faces a $1.2 billion dollar deficit and Pogemiller says lawmakers need to find a fix both DFLers and Republicans can agree on. The governor isn't running for re-election, and Pogemiller says he can provide leadership on the budget:
"I don't mean a State of the State, I mean a budget address on what his direction for the state is to solve this $5.4 or $8 billion budget deficit in the future. In his last year in office he could really serve the state well by stepping up, making some tough choices and trying to lead us to a balanced budget."
Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung rejected the idea in an e-mail:
"We plan to prepare supplemental budget recommendations and release them as we have in years past with a document and press conference. The Governor will also generally address the budget during his State of the State Address. We haven't yet finalized a date or location for that speech."
DFLers also rejected Pawlenty's idea to quickly ratify a $1.8 billion payment delay to K12 schools. Pawlenty said in a letter to legislative leaders that he would like lawmakers to codify the cut he made during his unallotment. He suggested that he could call a one day special session to enact the school payment shift. DFL House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher said a special session is unlikely:
"We're going to be in session in less than thirty days here. That is an important marker for Minnesotans. In fact, a lot of th eother unallotments the governor made in his decision making and the veto of basic medical care, general assistance medicare care, are far more pressing issues for the immediacy of how they affect Minnesotans lives."
Pawlenty and legislative leaders are also scheduled to meet sometime this week to discuss the budget. No time or location has been set yet. Update: Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung says Pawlenty will meet with legislative leaders on Friday afternoon in the governor's office.
Listen to full Midday here: