Murphy, Kelly split over Pawlenty proposalSteve Murphy says it's laden with "foot traps." Tim Kelly says it will help the state live within its means.
By: Mike Longaecker, The Republican Eagle
Steve Murphy says it's laden with "foot traps."
Tim Kelly says it will help the state live within its means.
But neither Red Wing lawmaker expressed much confidence that, with his term set to expire under a DFL-controlled Legislature, Gov. Tim Pawlenty's proposal will go far this session.
"I don't know if it will get much traction," said Kelly, a House Republican.
The Republican governor on Thursday announced a plan to constitutionally mandate that state spending cannot exceed revenue. Under the proposal, the state's two-year budget expenditures could not exceed revenue from the previous two years.
If lawmakers pass the bill, the proposal would then go before voters for approval.
Murphy, a Democratic senator, said the short 2010 session - the Legislature's main task will be to pass a public works bill in about four months - will keep the proposal from receiving lawmakers' full attention.
Still, he said he would be open to it if the proposal "doesn't create a deeper hole than what we're in."
As to the potential budget deficit facing lawmakers, Murphy said it can wait until the 2011 session.
"We're Minnesotans," he said. "We can put this weight on our shoulders and carry it another year."
Kelly said the proposal makes sense from a practical standpoint. The full-time financial adviser likened the funding situation to his clients outlining what their retirement spending will be and telling him to come up with the assets.
"You never separate the two," Kelly said. "They have to match up."
Kelly said he "doesn't have a problem" presenting the matter to voters, since Pawlenty's proposal doesn't mandate how money is spent - only that it matches the coffers.
"You're not taking that control out of representatives' hands," he said.
But Murphy contends the issue could tip Minnesota closer to states like Colorado and California, where voters exercise greater control over state issues through ballot measures and initiatives.
"The Legislature has no flexibility" in that political climate, he said.
"I don't like monkeying up our state's Constitution with something that should be handled by the legislative process," Murphy added.