Budget official: State 'unlikely' to receive $400 million in health care moneyby Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — There's a new complication in the state's budget picture.
Minnesota's top finance official says it is "significantly unlikely" that Minnesota will get its share of anticipated federal health care money before the legislative session ends on May 17.
The delay means lawmakers will likely have $408 million less than expected to solve the state budget deficit.
Management and Budget Commissioner Tom Hanson told a legislative panel that it's time to start talking about a contingency plan for balancing the books. He said he learned from the National Governors Association that Congressional action is expected at the end of May.
"The report we also heard from Washington was that it was an 80 percent likelihood that it will pass," Hanson said. "But we need to have some contingency in place anyway."
DFL Rep. Lyndon Carlson, chair of the House finance committee, says a decision is needed soon.
"The question that we'll have to deal with before we adjourn is: Do we build that $408 million into the budget, betting that it will be here by the end of the fiscal year, that-six month extension, or not?" Carlson said.
Budget proposals from both Gov. Tim Pawlenty and House DFLers have counted on that $408 million in federal funding to help close the state budget deficit.