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Minnesota Legislature

Federal stimulus oversight (new law)

Published (5/29/2009)
By Nick Busse
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A last-minute deficiency law includes funding for oversight of federal stimulus appropriations.

Sponsored by Rep. Loren Solberg (DFL-Grand Rapids) and Sen. Richard Cohen (DFL-St. Paul), the law, effective May 22, 2009, will provide $700,000 to Minnesota Management and Budget and $384,000 to the Office of the State Auditor.

The money, available immediately and carrying over into the next fiscal biennium, will be used to monitor state and local use of stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

In addition, the law, passed by the Legislature during the final hours of session, includes some changes to the session’s omnibus higher education finance law. Notably, it raises the caps on tuition increases in the second year of the biennium for the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. For the university, the cap is raised from $300 to $450; for MnSCU, the cap is raised from 3 percent to 5 percent.

Rep. Tom Rukavina (DFL-Virginia) explained that the changes were needed to give some added financial flexibility for the university and MnSCU, both of which now face possible unallotment by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

“It’s a minimal increase from what was in the original bill,” Rukavina said.

The law also includes several smaller provisions making changes to county health care programs in a way that brings them into conformity with requirements included in the federal stimulus legislation. There is also a provision relating to the small school district in Deer River, allowing the district to continue receiving sparsity aid. Solberg said it was requested by the Education Department.

HF2251*/SF1938/CH177

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