Pawlenty signs 3 budget bills, but only after line-item vetoes

  • Article by: D.J. Tice
  • Star Tribune
  • May 25, 2007 - 8:53 PM

Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed three major budget bills into law Friday but also kept his veto pen busy, issuing 19 line-item vetoes in the budget bills while rejecting several other pieces of legislation outright.

Pawlenty signed the omnibus health and human services bill, the jobs and economic development bill and the state government finance bill.

The massive health and human services legislation contains $1.46 billion in new spending over the next two years. The bill expands publicly funded health care for children and adults, enrolling 30,000 more youngsters, and contains other health care reform measures.

Pawlenty vetoed nine items from the bill, totaling $18.8 million. Among the largest was the veto of a $7.2 million appropriation in the second year of the new biennium for supported work for welfare recipients. Pawlenty said that the design of the program is inefficient and that the veto will provide time for improvements.

Pawlenty also vetoed nine items, totaling $4.9 million, from the jobs bill, which funds economic development initiatives across the state. The largest veto was of a $2.5 million appropriation for debt service costs at St. Paul's RiverCentre convention complex.

"I may be willing to support assistance for this facility," Pawlenty said in his message to legislators, "but ... how funds will be used needs to be much more clear and strategic."

Pawlenty vetoed only one item from the $709 million state government bill, which funds state agencies and operations. He rejected an $80,000 grant for the acquisition of an Indian burial site in Becker County, saying a state appropriation for that purpose would set a costly precedent.

Pawlenty vetoed outright a hotly debated bill that would create a statewide health insurance pool for school district employees. Pawlenty said the bill's approach will not reduce costs and undermines local control.

Pawlenty also vetoed an increase from $1 to $5 in the fees notary publics may charge for services. He said the increase is too large.

Meanwhile, capping a legislative session that he said put Minnesota "squarely at the front of states leading the way toward our nation's energy future," Pawlenty on Friday signed a bill designed to increase energy efficiency and slash greenhouse gas emissions.

The bill signed Friday requires that a plan be developed to reduce statewide carbon dioxide emissions linked to global warming 15 percent by 2015, 30 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050.


D.J. Tice • 612-673-4456 •

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