In budget plan, Minn. Dems plan on once-criticized federal moneyby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — House Democrats are using a pot of federal money in their budget-balancing plan that they criticized Gov. Tim Pawlenty for using.
Democrats plan to use $408 million in federal Medicaid money that hasn't passed into law yet. Last month, House and Senate Democrats blasted Pawlenty for using the money to help erase a nearly $1 billion budget deficit. DFL Rep. Loren Solberg says he's now more confident the state can rely on the Medicare money since Congress is poised to pass it.
"Nothing is ever guaranteed on this but I feel a lot better about it now than I did when the governor first submitted the proposal to us," Solberg said.
GOP House Minority Leader Kurt Zellers criticized the move.
"From our standpoint, it's just a lot of hypocrisy," Zellers said. "It's a lot of what I would call political jabbing one day or one week to then come back and use some of the same things."
House Democrats' budget-balancing plan also relies on another $155 million in cuts to health and social service programs, and $146 million in savings from a General Assistance Medical Care deal. K-12 schools wouldn't be cut, but the state Department of Education would face a small cut.