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Session 2004

Session 2004: Finance and Taxes

Gov. Tim Pawlenty sidestepped the Legislature Thursday to erase about 60 percent of a $160 million budget deficit himself. His $97 million fix left lawmakers with just $63 million to deal with, but they couldn't agree and now Pawlenty will likely have to dig deeper into agency budgets. Pawlenty redirected $80 million in federal dollars to deficit reduction instead of letting it flow into a fund that supports Minnesota's insurance program for low-income families. He also sliced 3 percent from state agency budgets, which yields $17 million in savings. In the big picture the budget deficit is small compared to the state's $28 billion two-year budget. Plus, it doesn't technically have to be fixed until next year.

A new MPR-Pioneer Press poll shows more than half of Minnesotans give Gov. Tim Pawlenty's job performance high marks. The numbers are higher than a similar poll conducted nearly a year ago. The poll also shows Minnesotans are divided about the budget fix approved last year to plug a record $4.2 billion budget gap. (02/03/2004)
Gov. Pawlenty travels around the state Thursday to announce the locations of new tax-free enterprise zones. Starting next month, new development on thousands of parcels of land outside the metro area will be free from property, income, and sales taxes. Economically-stressed rural communities are waiting to see if this will spark the turnaround they need. Critics say Minnesota is about to land the latest blow in a battle nobody wins. (12/18/2003)
House Democrats say an analysis of local property tax increases across the state shows a pattern of winners and losers. (12/11/2003)
According to a new state economic forecast released Wednesday, the state has not completely resolved its budget problem. ( 12/04/2003)