Letter: Magnus pleased with line-item vetoes
I'm pleased that Gov. Pawlenty decided to line-item veto the 2008 Capital Investment bill as opposed to vetoing the entire proposal. The plan, which funds construction projects throughout the state, totaled $925 million, which Pawlenty said was too expensive.
House Republicans supported him taking the line-item approach. That enables higher education facilities and other projects of statewide significance to receive needed funding, while eliminating some projects that may not meet the governor's statewide benchmark.
Pawlenty trimmed the proposal because he said it exceeded Minnesota's spending capabilities. The Minnesota Legislature has historically operated under a guideline that limits the bonding bill to three percent of non-dedicated general fund revenues. Exceeding this number could mean the state's bonding rate would be lowered, and if that happened, Minnesota would be forced to pay a higher rate of interest on the bonds that are issued.
The proposal brought forward by the House/Senate conference committee totaled $925 million, when according to Pawlenty, it needed to be $825 million. Following 52 line-item vetoes, the proposal signed into law totaled $717 million.
The good news is that important funding projects for southwestern Minnesota, such as Lewis and Clark Rural Water System funding and biosciences initiatives for Worthington, were included in the new law.
Pawlenty did what he had to do, which is cut the bill down to something the state can afford. It is clear to me that the economy is not going to make a quick turnaround. The governor recognizes this as well and by slimming down the expensive bonding bill, he is confronting reality while looking out for the best interests of Minnesota.