May 27, 2015

Parks and trails budget will be decided in special session

Over the Memorial Day weekend Gov. Dayton vetoed the omnibus agriculture, environment and natural resources bill, which includes the operating budget for Minnesota’s parks and trails. The governor also vetoed the omnibus jobs and energy bill and education bill, and the legislature has yet to pass a bill appropriating the Legacy Funds, all of which sets up a full workload for a special session.

As you’ll recall, the budget bill passed by the legislature increased General Fund spending on state park and trails by nearly 25% and kept state spending on Metropolitan Regional Parks and Trails stable. While Parks & Trails Council wishes the park and trail budget didn’t have to go back to the drawing board in a special session, we are encouraged that none of the reasons the governor gave for vetoing the bill were related to parks and trails funding. Rather the governor expressed his objections to funding and policy issues related to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

A date for the special session has not yet been set. Negotiations between the governor and key legislative leaders are ongoing, and a compromise will likely be reached before deciding when to call legislators back to the capitol to vote on the final bills. Budget bills must be signed by July 1 to avoid a partial state shutdown.


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