St. Paul City Council votes to support lawsuit challenging governorby Jessica Mador, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The St. Paul City Council plans to file a legal brief supporting a lawsuit challenging Gov. Tim Pawlenty's authority to make unilateral budget cuts.
Last month, a judge ruled Pawlenty overstepped his authority when he cut $5.3 million in funding for a low-income nutrition program.
The judge reinstated funds for the program.
The cuts were part of the $2.7 billion Pawlenty unilaterally cut to balance the state's budget, after failing to reach agreement with the Legislature.
The cuts cost the city of St. Paul about $5 million in state government aid last year. The city is expected to lose another $11 million in 2010.
St. Paul City Council member Lee Helgen said the governor abused his authority when he made the cuts.
"The public expects that he negotiate with the Legislature, and that they work together to solve the state budget problem. I don't think he has the authority to unilaterally do that, but I think from the city's point of view we really do want to make sure that long-term, that that public policy matter is appropriately reviewed. And that we weigh in about what that separation of powers means, and why it's important for our community," Helgen said.
The Pawlenty administration has appealed the judge's ruling, and the Minnesota Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments March 15th.