Postage proposals begin budget balancingby Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The Legislature convened in St. Paul Tuesday, and some lawmakers went right to work on closing Minnesota's projected $4.8 billion budget gap.
Minutes after the opening gavel, Senate Republicans proposed trimming travel and cutting their postage budgets by 56,000 dollars.
In the House, Republicans tried to roll back per-diem payments to legislators and cut committees.
The moves were symbolic, since DFL majorities in the House and Senate voted them down. But Republicans said they wanted to set an early example and cut some of their own costs.
Sen. Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, proposed cutting 1,000 stamps from each senator's allotment of 5,500.
"I think the solution to the current budget crisis is going to take some really holy cow ideas, and a lot of little ideas. And that was one of the little ideas," he said.
Republicans later said that they wanted Democrats to set budget goals within two weeks of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's budget proposal.
They said that would let the Legislature finish on time, without spending more state money on a special session to solve the budget crisis.