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As others see it: Take unallotment to the courts

It's time for some state advocacy groups or unions to take their complaints of the governor's approach to balancing the budget to court. It would be in their best interest and really in the best interest of all Minnesotans.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty has decided to use his line-item veto power and unallotment power to fill a $2.7 billion hole in the two-year budget. The vast majority of those billions will come through unallotment -- an executive branch power that allows a governor to block funds already given legislative approval but not yet spent when the new cycle dawns on July 1.

Unallotment has been rarely used in Minnesota history -- once by Gov. Pawlenty and a handful of times in emergency situations in the past. But it has never been used to such a degree. In the past, budget deals were reached but financial circumstances changed between then and the start of a new fiscal year that necessitated unallotment. State law requires a balanced budget and forbids deficit spending.

Pawlenty critics allege that he is using unallotment as an abusive tool of the executive branch, rather than a last-step measure.

They raise a good issue. But it's not one that can be settled in the court of public opinion. It needs to be settled in the courts ... period. ...

But that can only be done if a court case is filed. And there are plenty of groups and unions out there who are talking the talk in that regard but now need to walk the walk.

Mesabi Daily News of Virginia