Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

About that $408 million …

Published (4/29/2010)
By Nick Busse
Share on: 

Minnesota Management & Budget Commissioner Tom Hanson, right, tells the LCPFP Subcommittee on a Balanced Budget April 27 that the $408 million Medicaid payment to the state will likely arrive after the Legislature adjourns. Legislative leaders and Gov. Tim Pawlenty have included the money in their budget-balancing plans. State Budget Director Kristin Dybdal, left, also testified. (Photo by Tom Olmscheid)A state official told a legislative panel April 27 that $408 million in federal funding that lawmakers and Gov. Tim Pawlenty are counting on as part of their budget fix is stuck in congressional limbo.

Minnesota Management & Budget Commissioner Tom Hanson said it may be several more weeks before Congress passes an expected $408 million extension of enhanced Medicaid match funding. Both the Legislature and the governor have included the money as part of their respective budget-balancing plans.

Hanson said he and other officials learned the information during a conference call with staff from the National Governors Association. Although NGA staff are “80 percent” sure that the money will eventually be appropriated, Hanson said it is “significantly unlikely” to happen before May 17. That’s the day the Legislature is constitutionally required to adjourn this year.

“I think we’re faced with a fluid situation in Washington, D.C.,” Hanson said.

Congress is expected to go into recess May 29, and it is possible the legislation may be acted on before that date, Hanson said; however, he suggested lawmakers and the governor develop a backup plan.

“We need to begin a dialogue back and forth about the level of risk we want to take going forward as we prepare our budget in the last few weeks,” he said.

Hanson said the state budget is expected to be short $536 million in the current biennium, which ends June 30, 2011. Assuming the state will eventually get the $408 million in federal funding, he suggested lawmakers deal with the remaining $128 million problem first. After that, the state will need some kind of plan to “manage the risk of that money not coming,” he said.

Hanson made his remarks to members of the Legislative Commission on Planning and Fiscal Policy’s Subcommittee on a Balanced Budget. No action was taken.

Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller (DFL-Mpls), co-chairman of the subcommittee, challenged Hanson to develop a backup plan for solving the budget deficit without the $408 million. Hanson likewise challenged legislative leaders to come up with their own plan.

“I think it’s important that … we all talk about contingency and put our proposals on the table,” Hanson said.

Session Weekly More...

Session Weekly Home

Related Stories

A done deal
Budget fix makes the best of bad times for the state
(view full story) Published 6/1/2010

Deal or no deal?
Endgame is unclear as budget talks enter final days
(view full story) Published 5/13/2010

Unallotment undone
Court decision throws governor, lawmakers a curveball
(view full story) Published 5/6/2010

Budget cuts, round one
Despite deep spending cuts, legislators try to soften the blow
(view full story) Published 4/8/2010

Closing the gap
Piece by painful piece, lawmakers begin chipping away at the budget deficit
(view full story) Published 3/18/2010

A cloudy forecast
State’s new economic projection shows more trouble on the horizon
(view full story) Published 3/4/2010

Budget battle begins
DFL lawmakers say governor’s budget plan is incomplete, call for ‘Plan B’
(view full story) Published 2/18/2010

Minnesota Index: The state budget
Figures and statistics on Minnesota's state budget
(view full story) Published 2/18/2010

Cash flow conundrum
Projected cash shortages will require delicate balancing act
(view full story) Published 2/11/2010

First Reading: From worse to bad
Stimulus helps, but lawmakers still face a record deficit
(view full story) Published 3/6/2009

First Reading: 'Tough decisions'
Governor proposes spending cuts, accounting shifts to solve $4.8 billion deficit
(view full story) Published 1/30/2009

At Issue: Been there, done that
House finance chair, former governor reflect on previous budget problem
(view full story) Published 1/30/2009

At Issue: Not enough money in the cookie jar
Spending to outpace revenues as state’s population ages, report finds
(view full story) Published 1/16/2009

First Reading: Deep in the red
Members begin session with multi-billion dollar deficit to overcome
(view full story) Published 1/9/2009

At Issue: Starting from zero
Lawmakers consider a new approach to building the state budget
(view full story) Published 1/9/2009