Minn. House passes payback plan for school funding shiftby Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Republicans in the Minnesota House have again passed their plan to tap into state's rainy day fund to pay back some of the money owed to public schools.
The House passed the bill's conference committee report Monday by a 75-56 vote. The measure takes $430 million from recently replenished budget reserves to begin paying off the debt owed to public schools. Republican Representative Pat Garofalo of Farmington, the chair of the House education finance committee, said the GOP priority is to pay off the debt to schools.
"My parents taught me a term for somebody who didn't pay off their debt. They're called a deadbeat," said Rep. Patrick Garafalo, R-Farmington, chair of the House Education Finance Committee. "What we're hearing today is a clear vision between the Republican recovery paying off our debt, and deadbeat Democrats making excuses for not paying back the money they borrowed from schools."
House DFL Minority Leader Paul Thissen said the bill helps Republicans try to cover their tracks from last year's bad budget decisions. Thissen also argued taking the money out of the reserve fund would destabilize the state's finances.
"Let's not take shortcuts to cover the tracks of our bad decisions that were made, in this case coming out of the special session last year, and continue to protect big corporations at the expense of the long term fiscal stability of our state," Thissen said.