“Never put off ’till tomorrow what you can do today.” Thomas Jefferson
I’ve been meaning to write a column about procrastination – I just never got around to it. Besides, I’m not sure even Thomas Jefferson could abide by his own words 100 percent of the time. Most of us have succumbed to the sin of avoiding that which needs to be done at least once or twice.
House and Senate leadership and Governor Mark Dayton reached an agreement on a budget target that would erase the state’s projected $627 million budget deficit and raise $2 billion in new revenue. The agreement would increase spending and provide $400 million in property tax relief.
The newly agreed upon
E-12 budget target is $475 million, $75 million below the House initial target. To repay the $860 million owed to public schools from previous “shifts,” the plan calls for a temporary income tax surcharge on the state’s wealthiest residents.
I’ve been on the job for more than 21 years, without a day off for longevity, illness, endurance or good behavior. I’m not complaining. I wouldn’t want a day off. Not a whole day, anyway. Although I do appreciate 10 minutes under a hot shower within the solitary confines of my bathroom each morning.
If you’re a newbie to the profession, you might feel tired. Heck, I’m absolutely certain you are tired. Don’t worry. (There will be plenty of things to worry about during the next 18 years, believe me.) You’ll get used to the brain fog – even learn to use it to your advantage. Besides, sleep is over-rated. It’s one of the lessons motherhood has taught me.
The final weeks of the legislative session are in full swing and much work remains on the state’s next biennial budget. DFL House and Senate leadership continue to meet behind closed doors as they attempt to reach agreement on overall funding levels. With the mandatory May 20th adjournment date looming and no final budget bills having been passed, the pace is likely to quicken rapidly next week.
Some of the conference committees have held meetings to discuss issues that are the same or similar in each version of the overall bill. Others are continuing to wait for an overall agreement on spending.
The next phase in the legislative process is conference committee work. A conference committee is made up of five members from each House and Senate body to resolve differences; craft one bill to be passed by the House, Senate and signed by the Governor. The first step in that process is for Leadership to establish new budget and tax targets. House and Senate Leadership have met with the Governor to begin negotiating a global budget deal.
Education Finance Conference Committee work was scheduled to begin meeting on Tuesday, May 7. The first few meetings will allow members the opportunity to understand the funding and policy provisions in each bill. The conference committee will not be able to accomplish much until the House, Senate and Governor establish new budget targets for the conference committee.