2:45 PM: Wrapping up. Pawlenty just put his notes in his jacket pocket. “This is a device that has been on the books since the 1930s… In the end, it is a device that gives the executive the authority to make adjustments. Pawlenty is done, walking into his office.
2:41 PM: Commissioner Hanson defends mid-range forecasts. Two years ago, he says Minnesota projected a $1.1 billion surplus, now billions in the whole. “I think we’d be well served to allow a little more data to roll in before we try to bring the four-year picture into balance.”
2:38 PM: Pioneer Press’s Rachel Stassen-Berger asks another question about legal action against unallotment. Pawlenty responds with a shot at House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher. Governor says she’s “been meeting with all the usual suspects… She’s been meeting with unions…” regarding potential legal action to block unallotments. Then, a little irony: Pawlenty credits former governor Harold Stassen — Rachel’s grandfather — for giving governors the legal authority for unallotment.
2:35 PM: Governor has a pre-emptive strike for expected press conference featuring Minneapolis mayor R.T Rybak: “Minneapolis has been on an unbroken streak of 8 percent increases in property taxes, funding things like $50,000 artistic fountains, duplicative departments with state departments…They need to get their head out of their clouds… It is not business as usual.”
2:32 PM: Pawlenty reacts most strongly so far to question about General Assistance Medical Care. “The program you’re talking about is growing 36 percent a
year budget cycle. We got stiff-armed on this for years. And now the day of reckoning has come.”
2:30 PM: Fox 9′s Jeff Goldberg: “Do you anticipate lawsuits?” Pawlenty: “We feel very confident about our legal ability to do this.”
2:27 PM: “There certainly will be some layoffs, but we’re not ready to quantify them,” Pawlenty says. MPR’s Tom Scheck asks if its hundreds or thousands, Pawlenty demurrs.
2:25 PM: The cuts are weighted toward the second year, but not entirely, Pawlenty says. Offers the legislature the opportunity to revisit the cuts in the next session. Says the state will eventually settle up with public schools.
2:22 PM: Q&A starting. Governor says these are not final, and Minnesotans are welcome to weigh in on the state website with their thoughts. “These are proposals,” Pawlenty says, pending the meeting of a state finance committee on Thursday.
2:20 PM: “If you look at these reductions, the 300 million in local government aid cuts is signifcantly less than what I originally proposed, which was up in the $450 million range… We adopted the DFL’s approach on the K-12 shift… Many of these things were part of the deliberations and decision making of the legislative process.” Reduction overall will be about 3.8 percent.
2:19 PM: Pawlenty wrapping up, asking finance commissioner Tom Hanson to explain the process in further detail.
2:16 PM: Says constitutional officers and legislatures should offer a voluntary giveback, “commesurate” with other cuts in the state.
2:15 PM: Higher ed cuts are about 3.6 percent. Governor says they’re not as bad as the U and MNSCU were privately expecting.
2:12 PM: “Subsidies for politicians are on the lower end of our priorites,” governor says, proposing to cut $10 million from political contribution refund program, ending the program. Renter refund gets the axe, too.
2:10 PM: Governor starts out on aid cuts. Puts a 3.3 percent of revenue cap on first year aid cut. Limit is 7.6 percent for 2010.
2:08 PM Pawlenty: these cuts aren’t final, and have less impact than some of my original budget proposals.
2:05 PM: Here’s the damage. Education -$1.7 billion; MNSCU, -$50 million; U of M, -$50 million; Government aid cuts, like LGA -$300 million; Health and Human Services, -$236 million; state government, -$33 million. Total -$2.675 billion.
2:00 PM: Staff is handing out the paperwork. Pawlenty is coming in.
1:55 PM: Governor Tim Pawlenthy is about five minutes away from announcing the cuts he’s planning to make to balance Minnesota’s biennial budget, set to take effect next month.
It’s standing room only in the Governor’s Reception Room, and there are nearly as many lobbyists and hangers-on out in the hallway. I’ll be live-blogging the press conference, which is also being carried live on MPR news.