Budget bill would cut $207 million in state spending


Nearly $207 million would be cut from a variety of state agencies and programs under a supplemental budget bill approved by the House Finance Committee.

Sponsored by Rep. Lyndon Carlson, Sr. (DFL-Crystal), HF1671 would solve roughly one-fifth of the state’s projected $994 million biennial budget deficit. It touches on virtually every area of state government, except for K-12 education and health and human services.

The bill now moves to the House Ways and Means Committee, where it is expected to be taken up next week and merged with a forthcoming tax bill from the House Taxes Committee. Carlson said the combined bill would solve $313 million, or roughly one-third, of the total deficit.

Overall, the bill includes many of the cuts Gov. Tim Pawlenty called for in his supplemental budget plan, and cuts slightly more than Pawlenty recommended. Cuts proposed in the bill include:

• $52.6 million to higher education and workforce development programs;
• $49.8 million to energy and commerce (mainly through one-time transfers out of special funds);
• $35.9 million to public safety and the judicial branch;
• $32.8 million to state government operations and the Legislature;
• $16.3 million to environment and natural resources programs;
• $6.7 million to agriculture;
• $5.6 million to transportation;
• $4.9 million to housing programs; and
• $2.5 million to cultural and outdoor resources spending.

For the most part, the bill does not include provisions to ratify unallotments Pawlenty made last year. Carlson indicated the ratifications would not be considered until a pending court case over the legality of the unallotments is concluded, possibly later this month.