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GOP budget targets

The budget battle got a little more specific at the Capitol as lawmakers set their budget targets.  Targets are the GOP’s starting point, a framework, somewhat like the DFL governor’s proposed budget.  The Senate plans to spend $34 billion, Gov. Mark Dayton spends $37 billion.  Senate GOP Majority Leader Amy Koch repeated their common refrain “we’re living within our means.”  Education appears to be the major area with the most agreement, Finance Chair Sen. Claire Robling said “We are not impacting education with any deep cuts at all.”  Leglislative leaders and the governor put a k-12 payment shift in their budgets.

Health and Human Services has the biggest difference where the GOP and DFL are billions of dollars apart.  HHS Chair Sen. David Hann said “We are looking for significant Medicaid reform” but former chair Sen. Linda Berglin said “the devil is in the details.”  Revenue and taxes will be the biggest area of contention.  The legislature’s cut to Local Government Aid is not as deep as suspected, Republicans wouldn’t get specific but said to stay tuned to Tax Committee.  DFL Minority Leader Tom Bakk said “Republicans don’t have the votes in their caucus for deep LGA cuts.”

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Howard Miller on 03/17/2011 - 05:48 pm.

    There is agreement on higher ed funding?

    There’s a rumor that Senate Republicans have proposed to cut funding for health care insurance for MnSCU employees – if employees want it, they pay for it … without that money that used to cover it from the state. And they also propose to cut contributions to retirement programs from 6% to 3%.

    Have Democrats – especially Governor Dayton – signed off on that dramatic pay cut to MnSCU people? Or is it a false rumor? Inquiring minds really want to know

  2. Submitted by Georgia Holmes on 03/22/2011 - 09:56 am.

    I have heard the same “rumors” as the first commenter. Under GOP bills, state employees would have a 6% across the board cut in salary, plus they would have to pay an additional 3% for retirement, plus pay for all of their health insurance costs. That is 6%, plus 3% plus about $11,000 for family coverage. For most state employees that is a pretty big tax hike, because that is what it really is — a tax hike intended to balance the state budget. If your salary is only about $32,000 (what many AFSCME people earn) and you have a family, that puts you below the poverty line an hardly makes it worth working.

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