GOP Proposes bill to repay school shift

Omnibus bill pays of extended 2011 shift, beings to repay DFL’s 2010 shift

ST. PAUL, March 8, 2012 — Minnesota House Republicans today proposed a bill that would pay off the extended school shift enacted as part of the compromise budget agreed to with Governor Dayton in July 2011. The bill would also start repaying the debt to schools left by the 2010 DFL Legislature.

“With this bill in law we would pay back all of the 10-percent additional shift the Legislature and the governor agreed to in balancing budget,” said House Education Finance Committee Chair Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington. “That debt would be repaid to schools and we’d starting paying back the debt this Legislature inherited at the start of last year.”

 

The shift repayment will come from the $1 billion in cash the state currently sits on, Garofalo said. That cash is the result of more positive economic forecasts since last year’s budget agreement. The first $318 million repayment is already certified by Minnesota Management & Budget and scheduled to be made later this month.

“In just eight months, the budget outlook improved enough so that we can repay schools,” said House Speaker Kurt Zellers. “We’re saying that instead of letting that cash sit in a bank account, we use it to pay back the shift. That should be our priority.”

 

The bill – House File 2083 – would repay schools $430 million to return the payment schedule to the 70/30 rate it was at the start of the 2011 legislative session. It would then make the first repayment toward the shift enacted by the DFL legislature in 2010.

“We are repaying our shift and starting to clean up the debt the Democrats left schools under in 2010,” Garofalo said. “My hope is they will go along with us in starting payments on the portion of the debt they are responsible for passing onto our schools,” he added.

 

HF 2083 is the omnibus education policy and finance bill. It will be up for a vote before the full Minnesota House this month.