Minn. House passes GOP school payback plan

Published 9:26 am Friday, March 16, 2012

ST. PAUL  — The Minnesota House has approved a Republican-backed measure to use state rainy-day funds to pay down debts to public schools.

The bill would take $430 million out of the state budget reserve and return it to schools. The the House approved the bill 74-59 Thursday.

Republicans say with state finances improving, they feel comfortable tapping into a reserve fund so schools don’t have to wait as long for catch-up payments. The state now owes more than $2 billion to schools for past budget fixes.

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Democrats call the GOP strategy reckless financing that could force the state to take out short-term loans to meet its cash obligations.

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton says he opposes the bill. The measure has not been heard yet by a Senate committee.