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Pawlenty unallotment law suits are a moot point

Last week, a Ramsey County court ruling said Gov. Tim Pawlenty's summer budget cuts through unallotment were unconstitutional. It's a good possibility that numerous organizations may file suits of their own as a result, hoping that their funding gets restored as a result.

Here's a key point, however. Any restoring of funds cut by Pawlenty last year won't narrow the budget hole facing legislators when they reconvene in February.

The governor slashed $2.7 billion from the $30 billion, two-year budget through unallotment. But with the budget ax likely to be wielded yet again in the next several weeks, it seems almost foolish for lawsuits to start flying from organizations that may see their funding levels trimmed anyway during this session.

Gary Carlson of the League of Minnesota Cities said it well in remarks quoted in Saturday's Worthington Daily Globe: "If you win, what do you win? The state has a deficit that still needs to be resolved. ... Do you have any long-term victory?"

Sure, the unallotment ruling could be significant on legal grounds, though it officially only affected a $5.3 million special diet program for needy Minnesotans. But it sure doesn't appear to mean much in terms of the big picture. -- Worthington Daily Globe