House and Senate have combined $16.7 million on hand

The Minnesota House has $10.7 million in reserve and the Senate has $6 million, according to a document filed with the Minnesota Supreme Court on Monday.

The money would fund the House through January and the Senate through November, assuming Gov. Mark Dayton's line item vetoes of budget money for the Legislature were to stand.

The Supreme Court ordered the Legislature to provide an accounting of its reserves as part of Dayton's appeal of a Ramsey County Court decision that his vetoes are null and void. The Supreme Court hasn't upheld or overturned that lower court ruling. Instead it ordered the two sides into mediation.

The document signed by attorney Doug Kelley also says the money would run out sooner if costs of a shutdown are factored in, including paying the employer share of health insurance, accrued paid time off for some employees, and unemployment insurance costs.

"The parties disagree on what the effect would be if spending levels are changed when only carryforward funds are used," Kelley wrote. "The governor believes that spending would be reduced and the exhaustion period extended. The Legislature disagrees."

It's not clear what justices have in mind for funding the Legislature, but the court seems reluctant to order any state spending if it doesn't have to. The two sides are required to give the court an update on the progress of mediation by the end of the month.

State agencies aren't allowed to carry over money from one two-year budget cycle to the next, but the Legislature has not held itself to the same restriction.



Before you go...

MPR News is dedicated to bringing you clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives when we need it most. We rely on your help to do this. Your donation has the power to keep MPR News strong and accessible to all during this crisis and beyond.