Deep cuts to local government aid and health and human services programs top Gov. Tim Pawlenty‘s plan to fix a projected $1.2 billion budget shortfall this biennium. His proposed supplemental budget lays out a series of tax cuts for businesses, and also relies on $387 million in federal money for a temporary Medicaid extension.
Proposed spending cuts include:
- $347 million to health and human services;
- $250 million to county and city aid;
- $181 million to state agencies; and
- $47 million to higher education.
House DFL leaders reacted sharply to the proposal, criticizing it both for being unbalanced and for being potentially harmful to vital programs.
“It’s a budget that is only balanced if we get the money from the federal government,” said House Majority Leader Tony Sertich (DFL-Chisholm), adding that the governor’s plan would result in job losses at a time when the Legislature is trying to help create new jobs.
At his press conference, the governor acknowledged there might be job losses in state and local government.
“You can’t insulate all of government from layoffs,” Pawlenty said.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher (DFL-Mpls) criticized the governor’s plan to cut the corporate tax rate by 20 percent, arguing that the governor is cutting health care for the poor while giving a break to “out-of-state corporations.”