By Johnnie Rosario
Supplemental funding for the Department of Education, an already-underfunded agency, now will rely upon the ability of the governor to go to the bond market, refinance the JFK bonds, and dedicate an unknown savings sum to pay for DOE operations.
An error by the Office of Finance and Budget has forced Vice Speaker Telena Nelson to move a rider onto the budget bill authorizing the governor to refinance the JFK bonds and to apply the savings from the refinancing to DOE's budget.
Without the amendment, the budget either will be unbalanced, or DOE's operations budget will be cut further. The Legislature is forbidden by law to pass an unbalanced budget.
The refinancing, if successful, will lower debt service without extending the term of the bonds.