Budget negotiators reach agreement on $1 billion in cuts

That didn’t take long. Negotiators on a House/Senate budget plan took less than an hour to reach a deal on a conference committee report that cuts nearly $1 billion in state spending.

The bill cuts aid in local governments, higher education and funding for health and human services programs. The biggest change is the amount of money Minnesota Management and Budget has to cut from the current budget. Negotiators locked in on $100 million in unspecified cuts. They also instructed Finance officials to not cut programs for veterans, higher education, workforce retraining and disaster relief.

The bill also cuts aid to cities and counties in the current two year budget but doesn’t make cuts to the program in the next biennium. The measure also removes a pay freeze requirement for state workers.

Negotiators didn’t say when the full House and Senate will vote on the measure but GOP Rep. Mary Liz Holberg of Lakeville says the goal is to send it to Governor Dayton by February 10th.

Dayton hasn’t said whether he’ll veto the bill but has repeatedly warned lawmakers that he wanted the Legislature to address the full $6.2 billion budget deficit and not do it in a “piece meal” approach.

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