Pawlenty: Property tax cap is key to passing a budgetby Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants to use substantially less money from a health care access fund to balance the budget, but he's digging in his heels on a property tax cap.
The Republican governor met with House and Senate leaders over the weekend, trying to close a projected $935 million state budget deficit.
Pawlenty's latest budget offer would use about $50 million from the health fund, down from his earlier proposal of $125 million. During a Capitol news conference today, Pawlenty described approval of a cap on local property taxes as the key to a budget deal.
"We cannot be fiscally irresponsible. We can't be adding spending that is unsustainable," Pawlenty said. "We have a tight economy that families and businesses across Minnesota are tightening their belts. Government has to do the same thing. And a key part of that is the property tax cap, and we're putting that front and center in the discussions."
Senate Assistant Majority Leader Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, said she's pleased the governor backed off on the health care access fund. But she says Democrats still have concerns about the remaining $50 million he wants to use.