Gov. Pawlenty told me yesterday that he’ll announce this week which programs he intends to cut to erase a $2.7 billion budget deficit.
“We’ll probably have some proposals this coming week but they won’t be finalized until after that,” Pawlenty said. When asked, Pawlenty would not say which day he would announce the cuts.
The Republican governor is taking an unprecedented step of balancing the budget on his own, using his emergency authority to cut spending. He decided not to call lawmakers back for a special session after failing to reach a budget agreement with Democrats in control of the Legislature. Pawlenty said he’ll announce the budget cuts and then consult with others before he takes action in July.
“The way we’ve got it structured is that we’ll say ‘Here’s what we’re planning to do and proposing to do’ and then we’ll take some more input, get some reaction from the Legislative Advisory Commission and perhaps some other stakeholders and perhaps we’ll finalize it down the road.”
Pawlenty has said in the past that Health and Human Services programs, aid to local government and higher education are possible targets for cuts. He also said he intends to delay payments to schools.
Officials with hospitals, nursing homes and other organizations have said they’re looking at their legal options to see whether they can stop the cuts in the courts. Pawlenty said he thinks he’s on solid legal ground.