Friday, September 07, 2007

Offer and acceptance 

The debate over the special session continues. The terms of the trade -- agreed agenda for call to St. Paul -- are narrowing.

The DFL has offered a summary to the governor that includes only funding for the flooded areas of SE Minnesota. It's a fairly comprehensive list. What strikes me is what is not there, which is how to pay for it. Gov. Pawlenty responded this morning and saw this was the problem too. Here's what he still wants:
  1. A dollar figure for the spending, which the governor suggests can rely on estimates from FEMA and state and local agencies. He is to provide this number today. He has already acted on some requests and sent $32 million to the area.
  2. Bonding authority for any capital spending "related to flood recovery, rebuilding and mitigation as well as authority for the I-35W bridge if we mutually agree it is needed."
  3. "I am prepared to call a special session if you will also confirm your understanding by letter that the session will last no more than one calendar day, the agreed upon flood legislation will be the only legislation considered and passed, and that the Legislature will then adjourn sine die."
That's it. No gas tax. No LGA. Nothing else. Not even the seminar on conservatism some people seem to prefer.

The bonding piece is the part that has to happen. It's a way to prevent the DFL from coming back in February and proposing tax increases to "correct" the deficit "created" by Pawlenty by shifting money like that $32 million. Not that this is likely to stop them, but it removes one argument, and is worth holding out for. It's why Pogie is saying right now there's money on the bottom line they can use. Yes, for now, but come February he'll suddenly be lonely for it.

Believe it or not, that's what the sticking point at the end of this thing will be: to bond, or not to bond? Given the amount of backpedaling the DFL has done so far, I expect there will be bonding.

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