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Session 2003

Session 2003: Budget and Taxes

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.

Governor Pawlenty is calling his "JOBZ" program "the mother of all economic development incentives." Communities in outstate Minnesota are already compiling their evidence to convince state officials that their town needs the extra boost. (04/07/2003)
Budget crises have elected officials rethinking the size of government. Minneapolis and Hennepin county are considering consolidating some government departments in the wake of a layoff of nearly 200 Minneapolis city workers. ( 04/04/2003)
Legislative leaders join Midday from the MPR's Capitol bureau to discuss the latest proposals to balance Minnesota's budget. ( 04/03/2003)
House Republicans outlined a budget plan Thursday that is similar to Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty's no-tax-increase proposal, but makes a few priorities of its own. House Republicans would include more funding for local government aid, ethanol projects, higher education, nursing homes and senior programs than does Pawlenty. (04/03/2003)
A divided Minneapolis City Council approved a series of job cuts Tuesday to account for a proposed $21 million cut in state aid. At the same time, Hennepin County officials approved $27 million in cuts to their budget, reducing more than 300 jobs, mostly at the county's hospital. (04/02/2003)
The St. Paul city council will meet Wednesday to talk about Mayor Randy Kelly's proposed budget for the next fiscal year, anticipating a $33 million cut in local government aid. ( 04/01/2003)
The debate over taxes at the state Capitol is heating up on several fronts. A key Republican lawmaker is proposing a $1 increase in the state's cigarette tax. Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he'll consider the idea, because the money would be used to offset another tax. And the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits is the first interest group to come forward with a specific proposal to raise taxes since Pawlenty released his budget. (03/31/2003)
The tables begin turning this week in the budget debate. After a month of dissecting - and in many cases denouncing - Gov. Tim Pawlenty's budget proposal, legislators will provide a hint of what they'd do differently. (03/31/2003)
In the first votes testing parts of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's budget, two Senate committees on Thursday rejected his plans for the state's welfare and health programs and his proposals for higher education. (03/27/2003)
For weeks, the chairman of the Senate's tax committee has been repeating one phrase like a mantra: Gov. Tim Pawlenty's "no-tax" budget will drive up property taxes. On Wednesday, he proved it. Sort of. Sen. Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, distributed to his committee information from the state Revenue Department that predicts taxes will increase 14 percent for homes on average statewide under Pawlenty's budget. (03/26/2003)
Minnesotans behind Gov. Tim Pawlenty's budget plan gave him a hero's welcome Wednesday at a Capitol rally. A few hundred people attended the event, dubbed Taxpayer Day at the Capitol, and gave Pawlenty's no-tax-increase budget a strong endorsement. (03/19/2003)
The leader of the Republican House majority is cool to features of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's budget that are touted as safeguards against soaring local property taxes. House Speaker Steve Sviggum said Monday that he won't back a directive that would freeze wages of public employees at the local government and school district levels. And he said he is uncomfortable with so-called levy limits that would cap property tax increases imposed by county and city officials. (03/17/2003)
The latest on the major issues of the legislative session. The state of Minnesota is scrounging around for money, and looking at various plans to get back into the black. Possibilities range from closing rest stops to freezing the wages of state employees. We look at current issues facing the Minnesota state legislature. ( 03/17/2003)
More than 1,000 public employees converged on the state Capitol Thursday to demonstrate against proposed budget cuts and a plan to freeze public sector pay. Gov. Tim Pawlenty has fashioned a $4.2 billion deficit reduction package that relies heavily on spending reductions, and offers no new tax increases. Pawlenty has also proposed a wage freeze that would extend from state employees down to the city, county, and school district level. (03/13/2003)
Income tax preparers, political contributors and candidates, public broadcasters and health maintenance organizations are among those pinched by a revised budget plan released Wednesday. Gov. Tim Pawlenty's administration detailed $148.5 million in additional spending cuts, increased fees and accounting shifts. He's recommending the moves to deal with a bigger projected deficit through mid-2005 and to further stock state reserves. (03/12/2003)
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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)
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