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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.

The cold, rainy weekend didn't dampen Gov. Tim Pawlenty's enthusiasm for fishing. The governor was in Detroit Lakes for the traditional Minnesota fishing opener. Pawlenty says it was a fun, relaxing weekend. Now it's back to work. (05/12/2003)
Minnesota House Republicans say they're growing impatient with the slow pace of budget negotiations. With just over a week left before scheduled adjournment, GOP leaders in the House and Democrats who control the Senate remain deeply divided over how to erase a projected $4.2 billion deficit. The fault line lies over the contentious issue of taxes, with Republicans saying they'll stand by Gov. Tim Pawlenty and his pledge <i>not</i> to increase state taxes. (05/09/2003)
Time is running out for the Minnesota Legislature to agree on several major issues, especially the state budget. And now political wags are acknowledging that a special session may be in order. What's going on behind the scenes to break the logjam? ( 05/09/2003)
Host Mike Mulcahy and guests look at a range of top news stories including the latest on the state budget and what may become the first death penalty case in Minnesota in a century. ( 05/09/2003)
The Minnesota Legislature has less than two weeks to come up with a budget for the next biennium. Lawmakers are required by law to adjourn the session by May 19, but House Republicans and Senate DFLers are still far apart in their plans to deal with a projected $4.2 billion shortfall. Gov. Pawlenty has been meeting with legislative leaders and says he's sticking by his pledge not to raise state taxes. Morning Edition host Cathy Wurzer talked with Gov. Pawlenty. (05/08/2003)
Minnesota House Republicans say they've made good on their commitment to hold the line on new taxes. The House voted 70-63 Wednesday to approve a tax bill with no state tax increases. That sets GOP lawmakers up against the DFL-controlled Senate, which is contemplating more than $1 billion in income and cigarette tax hikes. The tax battle will be the key to resolving the overall budget debate. (05/07/2003)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty told House and Senate Republicans Wednesday to stick to their principles and not raise taxes to erase the state's $4.2 billion deficit. &quot;We are at a crossroads in this legislative session,&quot; he said during a sort of pep rally before the House went into session for the day. (05/07/2003)
With two weeks left in the legislative session, there seems to be little middle ground between Democrats and Republicans. Both sides are pointing to weekend polls to make their case for balancing the budget. Republicans say they won't raise taxes, while DFL leaders say if Republicans won't compromise, a special session is likely. (05/05/2003)
Legislative leaders and the Pawlenty administration discuss the plan to balance the budget and adjourn in two weeks. The tax committees in the House and Senate continued their work on tax bills Friday. The Senate bill includes tax hikes on the top five percent of wage earners, tobacco products and some corporations. The House bill has no tax increases and goes along with Gov. Tim Pawlenty's pledge to balance the state budget without raising taxes. ( 05/05/2003)
A new poll shows most Minnesotans favor the direction set by Gov. Tim Pawlenty's no-new-taxes approach to budget-balancing. But the survey -- conducted for Minnesota Public Radio and the St. Paul Pioneer Press -- also shows that when confronted with specific alternatives or tax proposals, significant majorities show a willingness to increase state revenues. (05/02/2003)
Hold the phone, park the car and forget about a raise. That's the message the House sends to state workers with a $412 million finance bill that limits government-issued cell phones, reduces the vehicle fleet and freezes employee wages and health benefits for the next two years. It also would curb employees' ability to strike. (05/02/2003)
Senate Democrats began discussions Thursday on proposals for more than $1 billion in new taxes over the next two years. DFLers say the extra revenue is necessary to blunt the spending reductions outlined in proposals favored by Gov. Tim Pawlenty and House Republicans. But Pawlenty says he'll stand by his pledge to reject any new tax increases, and a key DFL lawmaker says it's likely the governor will carry the day. (05/01/2003)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty has released new guidelines for distributing aid payments to cities across Minnesota. Administration officials say the new local government aid formula eliminates historical inequities in state assistance and focuses exclusively on a city's needs and resources. But city representatives say the formula isn't the point. While the distribution of aid may change, they argue the governor is also slashing the total amount of aid across the board, leaving municipal officials with few options. (05/01/2003)
Leaders in the Minnesota House and Senate plan to pass all of their budget bills by the end of the week. That gives them less than three weeks to work out their differences -- including a key issue that separates the two chambers. The House bills don't raise state taxes, while the Senate bills do, to restore funding for some of the budget cuts proposed by House Republicans and Gov. Pawlenty. (04/29/2003)
Discussions of proposed deep cuts in the Minnesota state budget have sparked talk about raising taxes. The question remains whether the political climate has soured on the no-taxes pledge. ( 04/29/2003)

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)