From MPR’s Tim Pugmire:
Governor Tim Pawlenty will announce on Friday his plan for solving a $426 million deficit in the current state budget.
The Republican governor will use his emergency authority to drain the budget reserve and make cuts in unspent, available state funds. Pawlenty met today with House and Senate leaders to get their advice on which spending areas to cut. Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung says the governor has placed a priority on K-12 education, military and veterans affairs and public safety. But he says cities and counties will take a hit on state aid.
“If a city is not able to handle what are likely to be modest cuts without impacting police and firefighters, they’re making bad decisions and they’re picking the wrong priorities. State government has had to prioritize and decide what’s most important, what do we need to do. And cities will have to do some of the same thing,” McClung said.
House Democrats also want to spare key budget areas, but their list of priorities includes Local Government Aid. DFL House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher says she’s concerned that Local Government Aid will still end up getting cut.
“The concern is a public safety concern. That’s the ultimate concern with local governments is that they’re the major provider of public safety services for the people of Minnesota. And that’s always our number one concern here is keeping people and their streets safe,” Kelliher said.
Senate Democrats have urged the governor to cut spending across the board by 1.6 percent.
UPDATE: Here’s a link to the House DFL letter outlining what should be protected, etc.