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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 National Eagle Center in Wabasha is one of the many organizations losing money under the Pawlenty Administration's budget-balancing proposal. Tuesday, the governor cut $500,000 allocated towards the center's $1.5 million expansion project. (01/16/2003)
Rural Minnesota communities are bracing for a series of budget cuts. Of special interest is the Local Government Aid program. That aid is how some rural cities pay for basic services, like fire and police protection. As state lawmakers prepare to whittle down a multi-billion dollar deficit, out-state officials prepare to plead their case. (01/15/2003)
Lawmakers began sampling Gov. Tim Pawlenty's appetizer of a budget fix on Wednesday. For the most part they declared it distasteful but edible. Pawlenty's plan cuts $468 million from the budget before June. He still has the main course ahead of him, though, when he must cut nearly 10 times as much to balance the budget through the next two years. (01/15/2003)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty's plan to bridge the state's current $356 million deficit has touched off a chorus of protest from some corners of the Capitol. One of the larger items on the chopping block is the state's subsidy to ethanol producers, which is slated for complete elimination for the remainder of the biennium. Higher education, state agencies, and a business tax break would also suffer. (01/14/2003)
Gov. Pawlenty has released the first part of a plan to eliminate a budget shortfall of $356 million for the current fiscal year. The proposal includes cuts in higher education, limits on out-of-state travel by state employees and other reductions. The plan includes permanent spending reductions of about $171 million. That includes a $44 million reduction in state agency operations, $77 million in state agency grants and programs, and $50 million from higher education. ( 01/14/2003)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants to use one-time money, and cut state agencies, programs and higher education to eliminate a projected $356 million projected deficit. Legislative leaders say they'll act quickly on Pawlenty's plan, although Democrats disagree with some of the details. (01/14/2003)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty ended his first week on the job with a tour of inner-city minority-owned businesses. Pawlenty talked about the importance of education and good jobs. He also asked for suggestions to solve a budget deficit he described as "almost catastrophic," and warned that every Minnesotan will feel the pain of budget cuts. (01/10/2003)
Gov. Pawlenty picked a longtime tax policy analyst to serve as commissioner of the state Department of Revenue. Dan Salomone will serve a key role as the new administration wrestles with a $4.5 billion state budget shortfall. Salomone has been executive director of the Minnesota Taxpayers League since 1991 and was a state Senate and revenue department researcher for 14 years before that. ( 01/10/2003)
The Pawlenty administration has made it clear: Everything is on the table when it comes to eliminating a whopping $4.5 billion projected state deficit this session. That includes funding for the arts in Minnesota. MPR's <i>Word of Mouth</i> program considers the future of arts funding in a state that's broke. (01/10/2003)
The Pawlenty administration asked all state agencies on Thursday to freeze all spending that isn't obligated by a state contract. Pawlenty and lawmakers face a projected $4.5 billion budget shortfall over the next two and a half years. About $356 million of that deficit needs to be addressed as soon as possible because it's part of the current two-year budget cycle which ends in June. Administration officials say Pawlenty ordered the spending freeze to keep all of his options open. But several lawmakers say they're concerned that key funding will be cut off. (01/09/2003)
Officially, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and lawmakers have a $4.56 billion projected deficit to cope with over the next 30 months. But Senate Finance Committee Chairman Dick Cohen said after a briefing from state economist Tom Stinson on Thursday that he'll proceed as if the problem is at least $5 billion and as much as $6 billion. (01/09/2003)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty assured a group of business leaders Wednesday night that he won't raise taxes to fix the state's $4.5 billion deficit. Speaking at a Minnesota Chamber of Commerce dinner, Pawlenty said business owners can't afford another tax increase. He said it's important for lawmakers to hold the line on taxes, lower the cost of health care and introduce tort reform. (01/09/2003)
Gov.-elect Tim Pawlenty completed a two-day &quot;listening tour&quot; of outstate Minnesota Friday. Pawlenty sounded separate themes on each of his stops; health care, economic development and the state's budget woes dominated most of the discussions. Pawlenty, who has tried to cut state aid to cities and towns, criticized some localities for depending too much on the aid. (01/03/2003)
For the first time in modern history, a lieutenant governor will head a state agency in Minnesota. Gov.-elect Tim Pawlenty named the Lt. Gov.-elect, Carol Molnau, as head of the Minnesota Department of Transportation Tuesday. This in preparation for taking office next week. Pawlenty faces many challenges as the new governor, including what to do about the projected $4.5 billion state budget shortfall. Still, he's sticking to his campaign promise that he won't raise taxes. ( 01/01/2003)
If voters knew one thing about Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Pawlenty it was this: under no circumstances, he said, would he raise state taxes. Now, Gov.-elect Pawlenty is facing a $4.5 billion budget deficit over the next two years, far bigger than most had anticipated. Pawlenty says the unexpected size of the shortfall hasn't diminished his resolve to stand tough on taxes. But critics say his pledge could damage the state's long-term prospects. (12/31/2002)

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)