The deadline: Today is the last day the Legislature can meet in regular session this year.
Extra innings? The governor may call a special session of the Legislature "on extraordinary occasions," the state Constitution says. Forget about it, Gov. Tim Pawlenty says; it's not going to happen this year.
The problem: Appropriations bills passed by the Legislature contained about $3 billion more in spending than the state is expected to take in during the two-year budget period covering July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2011.
The solution? Pawlenty, a Republican, and leaders of the DFL-controlled Legislature have proposed different ways to plug the gap. A big area of difference: DFLers say the state must have an ongoing source of new revenue, either from taxes or from fees. Pawlenty says no to new taxes.
The solution if there is no solution? Pawlenty says he will balance the budget on his own. He already has used line-item vetoes to pare some bills -- notably, line-iteming $381 million from a health and human services bill. Once the new budget period begins, July 1 of this year, he also would use a power called "unallotment" to bring spending in line with projected revenue.
RECENTLY SIGNED APPROPRIATIONS BILLS
• A $13.8 billion K-12 education bill, although Pawlenty expressed disappointment it didn't include some provisions he wanted (HF2).
• A $642 million bill appropriating money for state agencies (SF2082).
SIGNED, TRIMMED BY LINE-ITEM VETOES
• Bonding bill. Line-item vetoes reduced the $300 million bill by about $86 million. Among the items vetoed: $24 million for a new Bell Museum at University of Minnesota St. Paul campus; $6.5 million for Mankato Civic Center expansion; $6 million for Red Lake school district; $2 million for Shubert Theater in Minneapolis.
• Higher education spending bill (SF2083). Line-items reduced the approximately $3 billion bill by about $2.5 million.
• Agriculture and veterans affairs. Line-items cut the $250 million bill by about $130,000.
• A "lights on" appropriations bill that would fund government operations after June 30 if a new budget isn't adopted by then.