CHICAGO — Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty was expected to first trim and then sign by late Monday the $1 billion capital spending plan lawmakers approved last week.
The Democratic-controlled House and Senate on Thursday approved the plan, known as the bonding bill, which relies primarily on general obligation borrowing.
The Republican governor said he intends to sign it but will cut some project funding to bring the plan down in size. He did not elaborate on how much or what projects would be cut by his action, which is required by midnight.
Pawlenty’s original version of the bill totaled just $700 million, the most the state could afford, he argued.
Democrats pushed through a larger package last month that totaled $1 billion, contending that the bigger package was needed to create more jobs, but then did not send it to Pawlenty’s desk after he threatened to veto it because of the absence of projects he supported.
After negotiations, lawmakers agreed to put in funding for several of Pawlenty’s priorities. The latest version provides $274 million for higher education, $144 million for transportation and transit projects, and $64 million for flood control.
It provides funding for projects includes new performing arts and cultural centers, zoo expansions, a women’s hockey center, and a children’s hospital expansion.
With work on the bonding bill completed, lawmakers now will focus on addressing the $1 billion shortfall in the current two-year operating budget.
The latest revenue estimate that was released earlier this month trimmed $200 million off the previous deficit estimate of $1.2 billion. It warned too that the state faces a $5.8 billion next year as it crafts a fiscal 2012-13 budget.
Pawlenty has proposed erasing the red ink in the current budget through spending cuts and increased federal Medicaid funds. Democrats would like to offset some cuts with revenue increases.