Pawlenty offers DFL three budget ideas

The final week of the Legislative session is underway with no agreement in sight for erasing the state’s $4.6 billion budget deficit.

But Governor Tim Pawlenty tried to jump start the negotiations today (Monday) by partially pulling back on one of his key budget provisions, and agreeing to two others offered by Democrats. The Republican governor opposes tax increases, and Democrats oppose Pawlenty’s plan to borrow nearly $1 billion against future state revenue. But now the governor says he’s willing to reduce that borrowing by half. In a letter to House and Senate leaders, Pawlenty said he was trying to help facilitate a budget agreement.

In the spirit of compromise, Pawlenty also wrote that he would reluctantly agree with the Senate’s position to not provide funding for the state’s budget reserve. The governor had wanted $250 million. He also accepted the House position on delayed payments to school districts. In total, Pawlenty said the the proposals would generate $1 billion in revenue, which is the same amount contained in a tax bill he vetoed early Saturday morning.

Democrats are not embracing the offer. House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, said the governor’s letter is a compromise in word only, and not a reasonable plan.

Update: Here’s Pawlenty’s letter to lawmakers.

  • Your planned budget cuts will add to more job layoffs and higher tuition fees for our children. Our economy is bad enough without your budget cuts but will be worse because of them. We will not be able to pay tuition fees without jobs or be able to buy much of anything else without income. The economy is so bad but yet food prices, gas prices, housing and vehicles are high and nothing is done to reduce prices when it comes to these areas. Work on a bill that will bring prices down in these areas. Why is it that the citizens of America are the ones that suffer. We will be paying higher tuition to allow immigrants to further receive free education plus they take our jobs. My son graduated from the U of M this past weekend. I couldn’t believe all the foreign students that graduated with him. It bothered me to think that they received their education for nothing and here we are Amercian citizens that are left wtih a huge student loan to pay. Wondering how are we ever going to pay this loan off. Americans would never be given free education in a foregin country or be given a job in their country over one of their citizens. Why do we do that for them? We should be taking care of our own people first.

    Health care is another area that shouldn’t be cut, especially for county hospitals. There will be more job cuts at HCMC and Regions because of your plan. What is the stimulous money that you accepted from the presdient going for? Hold off on fixing the roads. They can wait a few more years. Use the money where it should be used, HEALTH AND EDUCATION FOR OUR OWN CITIZENS!

    Also, money that has already been granted will be taken away! Why is it that the stadium for the Twins is a go no matter what. Why not take the money away from that and put it to good use in health care and education. Twins have plenty of money to build their own stadium. It isn’t going to help them play any better!