Thursday, March 20, 2008

Stalemate over size of bonding bill

Lawmakers originally had hoped that a bonding bill would be on its way to the governor’s desk before the Legislature breaks for spring recess. That spring recess began today with no sign of an agreement. The House and Senate have been debating over the size of the bonding bill, which has put off the start of conference committee meetings. Both bodies agreed to first versions of the bill, but the question now remains: What should be the size of the bill?

After the February forecast showed a $935 million deficit, Gov. Tim Palwenty asked for the bill size to be reduced to $825 million, which would keep principal and interest payments to no more than 3 percent of the state’s general fund. The governor is now calling on House and Senate leaders to shrink the size of the bill or has said he will pull out the veto pen.

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