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Session 2003

Session 2003: Budget and Taxes



ISSUE UPDATE
After a drawn-out battle on whether to raise taxes, Senate DFLers decided at the end of the regular session to abandon the fight. Senate Majority Leader John Hottinger said Democrats became convinced Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, was prepared to shut down the government rather than break his pledge not to raise taxes. That meant a $4.23 billion budget shortfall was erased solely through shifts, cuts and fees. The biggest cuts came in health and social services programs.

When the 2003 Legislature convenes Jan. 7, the main task facing lawmakers and Gov.-elect Tim Pawlenty is how to deal with a $4.5 billion budget deficit. The financial squeeze will affect almost every decision they make in the next few months. Yet just a couple of years ago, state officials were swimming in a sea of cash. What happened? (12/30/2002)
The executive director of a business-backed think tank signed on Monday as Gov.-elect Tim Pawlenty's chief tax collector. The Republican governor-to-be named Dan Salomone to lead the Department of Revenue, one of the key posts in his administration. Pawlenty also tapped private attorney Jane Volz to run the Department of Labor and Industry, which handles workers compensation claims and workplace safety matters. (12/23/2002)
Rejecting a plea from Gov.-elect Tim Pawlenty, Gov. Jesse Ventura will make the state's full $544 million payment to local governments as scheduled Dec. 26. Pawlenty met with Ventura on Thursday to ask him to consider the idea, billing it as one of the state's only tools to fix a bigger-than-expected deficit. (12/20/2002)
The early stages of the budget debate have put people into two camps: those who say the state has to raise taxes to solve the budget shortfall and those who say the state spends too much and it's time to cut back. Is it possible for the state to reform the way it delivers services? Can Minnesota preserve the quality of service government provides, but cut the cost of providing those services? ( 12/16/2002)
Gov.-elect Tim Pawlenty's finance commissioner says state funding for the arts and humanities could be cut to balance the budget. Dan McElroy told the Twin West Chamber of Commerce on Friday that spending cuts have to be fair, and Pawlenty won't balance the budget on the backs of poor people. (12/13/2002)
Campuses won't be closed but tuition may rise. State aid for cities and counties won't disappear but it may only go to the neediest communities. And if your car breaks down on I-394, be prepared to change your own tire, because Highway Helpers may not be around anymore. Those were among the bits of advice the state's next governor and the leaders of the House and Senate offered on how the state's budget troubles may affect people. (12/11/2002)
Nearly every group that depends on state funding is nervous, in light of the $4.5 billion projected budget deficit announced Wednesday. And some groups say they have reason to be worried. Nursing homes, cities and counties say if their funding is cut, Minnesotans will feel the impact. (12/05/2002)
The reports of the state's anticipated deficit are out, and now it's time to look at what's going to be done about it. Host Gary Eichten is joined in the MPR studios by state economists to discuss what the next move could be, the condition of Minnesota's economy, and the revenue and budget situation. ( 12/05/2002)
State finance officials say that Minnesota's budget deficit over the next two-and-a-half years is expected to top $4.5 billion. The deficit is larger than any legislative leaders had predicted, and is the biggest challenge facing Gov.-elect Tim Pawlenty, who says he won't raise taxes to fill the budget gap. (12/04/2002)
Minnesota's looming budget deficit is even larger than expected, with a projected shortfall expected to hit $4.56 billion over the next 2-and-a-half years, state finance officials announced Wednesday. Forecasters had warned for months that the projected deficit might top $3 billion, but the new number staggered lawmakers. ( 12/04/2002)
State finance officials release the latest revenue forecast Wednesday, and the news won't be good. The forecast is expected to show a budget deficit of at least $3 billion. Gov.-elect Tim Pawlenty says he won't raise taxes to balance the budget, and he may be eyeing the state's tobacco endowments as part of his budget solution. (12/04/2002)
Just a little over a year since lawmakers at the Capitol proclaimed the benefits of a reworked property tax system, many residents in Minnesota are getting truth-in-taxation statements showing double-digit tax increases. Now some lawmakers are saying the situation is proof that tax reform is working. Will Minnesotans agree? And how will legislators respond to mounting criticism? ( 11/29/2002)
The new finance commissioner for the Pawlenty administration talks with Gary Eichten about the state's finances, and dealing with the budget shortfall. ( 11/25/2002)
Legislative leaders say the budget will dominate the 2003 legislative session. They said on MPR's <i>Midday</i> program that their biggest job will be dealing with a budget deficit that could top $3 billion. (11/18/2002)
Having weathered the election, Minnesota's new governor and Minnesota's new legislators now have to govern. The challenges for the new Legislature look daunting. The state is facing a big budget deficit, all the usual and unusual spending requests, and a firm promise from the new governor that he will veto anything that looks like a tax increase. Midday discusses the situation with the new legislative leaders. ( 11/18/2002)

Audio Highlights

Pawlenty's session postscript (6/4/03)
The governor discusses the budget and the session during a speech to the Society of Professional Journalists' meeting in Minneapolis
The view from former governors (5/13/03)
Former governors Arne Carlson, Wendell Anderson, Elmer L. Andersen and Al Quie give free advice to Gov. Pawlenty
Gov. Pawlenty announces "unallotment" cuts Takes action after legislators fail to make a deal (2/7/03)
Gov. Pawlenty inaugural address
Pawlenty's budget message (2/18/03)
Issues budget in attempt to close deficit
Pawlenty unveils budget cuts Proposes a mix of cuts to close short-term deficit (1/14/03)