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Trimming the administration

Published (3/28/2008)
By Brian Hogenson
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A House plan would reduce General Fund biennial expenditures for state government entities by the same overall amount recommended by the governor, but takes a different route getting there.

Sponsored by Rep. Chris DeLaForest (R-Andover), HF3987, which calls for budget reductions totaling $21.35 million, was approved by the House State Government Finance Division March 26 and included in the supplemental budget bill (HF1812) put together by the House Finance Committee one day later.

The committee recommends cutting $1.67 million from the Legislature, including $710,000 from the Senate and $952,000 from the House. The governor’s recommendations include $6.9 million in legislative cuts.

The plan’s $1.1 million in cuts to constitutional offices consists of $749,000 for the attorney general, $195,000 from the secretary of state, $113,000 from the governor and $42,000 from the state auditor. The governor recommended cutting $1.79 million from constitutional offices.

The committee’s recommendations include cutting $157,000 from the Office of Enterprise Technology, nearly half of the $313,000 cut recommended by the governor.

The Department of Administration would receive a $1.04 million cut from the plan while the governor recommends a similar cut of $1.2 million.

The plan would recommend cutting $421,000 from the Department of Finance, which is half the Governor’s recommended cut of $842,000.

Both the committee’s and the governor’s recommendations would give the Department of Military Affairs a General Fund increase of $390,000.

An amendment successfully offered by Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Mpls) specifies that the Legislative Coordinating Commission must report to the Legislature by Jan. 15, 2009, on potential savings that could be achieved by having the commission perform administrative functions that are currently handled separately by the House and Senate.

Another successful Kahn amendment would allow for certain bars in the Twin Cities metropolitan area to remain open until 4 a.m. from Aug. 29, 2008 to Sept. 8, 2008, in conjunction with the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Liquor stores in the area would also be permitted to sell alcohol on Sunday during those dates.

Other notable provisions include:

• employees must be granted up to five days of leave to care for a domestic partner due to illness or a disability within a 12-month period;

• regulations for state-funded outdoor lighting fixtures;

• employees must be allowed paid leave in order to donate blood; and

• regulations on misidentifying state agencies.

Senate companion SF3650, sponsored by Sen. Claire Robling (R-Jordan) waits actions by the Senate Finance Committee.

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