Deficit darkens bonding outlook
ST. PAUL - The newly predicted budget deficit is making it unclear whether there will be a public works project bill in 2009.
Known as a bonding bill, the Minnesota Legislature normally would pass at least a modest-sized one when it meets. However, even if no new borrowing is authorized for public works projects, the state is over a self-imposed limit for loan interest payments.
The guideline does not allow more than 3 percent of the state budget to be spent on interest.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty said the state already is beyond its credit limit, but refused to completely rule out a bonding bill.
Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, said a bonding bill would be good for jobs, but he stopped short of endorsing one. However, he did indicate a desire for a state bill if needed to match federal funds to build projects in Minnesota.