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After more than one hour of debate, the state House passed Republican's $1 billion budget-cutting bill as they attempt to take a bite out of a historict $6.2 billion deficit.

House passes $1 billion budget-cutting bill

Reps. Kurt Zellers and Mary Liz Holberg

Reps. Kurt Zellers and Mary Liz Holberg

After more than one hour of debate, the state House passed Republican’s $1 billion budget-cutting bill as they attempt to take a bite out of a historic $6.2 billion deficit.

The proposal passed with a 68-63 margin, the minimum number of votes required to pass a bill. All Democrats voted against the bill, along with four freshman Republicans in swing or DFL-leaning districts. The freshman were representatives King Banaian, John Kriesel, Deb Kiel and Rich Murray, who switched his vote from yes to no just before the vote was called.

The bill, brought by GOP Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, makes permanent cuts to higher education, local government aid and health care that were part of a budget deal reached at the end of the 2010 session. It also calls on the Minnesota Management and Budget Office to find $200 million in cuts to state government spending.

Democrats criticized the bill, saying it was rushed through the committee process and cuts money from state programs that support veterans, higher education grants and disaster relief. The Senate amended its version of the budget-cutting bill this week after reports that part of the $200 million in state government dollars would hit those areas. Senate Finance Chair Claire Robling reduced the total to $125 million in state government cuts.

“How many of you sent out mailers or said on the raido that you were going to cut veterans,” DFL Rep. Larry Hosch said. “Even the Senate realized that our veterans and our students and our most vulnerable children were going to get cut and they amended it in committee.”

Republicans defended the bill, saying they were taking the responsible route and tackling part of the deficit now, instead of waiting for the economic forecast to come out. “I’d rather go into the February forecast with a $5 billion problem than a $6 billion problem,” GOP Rep. Greg Davids said.

Holberg agreed: “We’ve got a big problem in front of us,” she said. “To start working on this now makes sense.”

When asked about his no vote, Kriesel said he agreed with a lot of cuts in the bill, but thought there were better ways to balance the budget, citing a racino proposal. He also noted the $200 million figure. “I don’t feel comfortable voting for reductions that I don’t know what they are,” he said. Kriesel is an Iraq War veteran.

Reporter Paul Demko contributed to this report.

2 comments

  1. Let us take an example of Texas. The “Wise Health Insurance” is quite popular in Arizona. It provides so many offers for the low income people.

  2. Minnesota legislators, Democrats and Republicans alike, should UNITE WITH ONE ANOTHER around
    HIGHER PRINCIPLES. Only an alliance on principles will do ANYTHING good for the people of the nation, and ALL the people in Minnesota in particular.
    The principle to ally around, is to get the US Congress to re-enact and pass the Glass-Steagall Bill,
    which served the nation from its passage in 1933 till its revocation in 1999.
    LaRouche PAC supporters will be visiting and meeting with state legislators on January 31, 2011 to inform and educate the legislators and their staffs about the wonderfully, massive infrastructure and productive employment potentials which the implementation of the Glass-
    Steagall bill will open up nationally, and in Minnesota, in particular.
    Lyndon LaRouche personally and repeatedly warned people that a speculative based monetary financial system would only end up in a state of utter collapse. The recent announcement of the final report of the Angelides Commission agrees with LaRouche that the entire crisis was “forseeable and avoidable.” Obama and Bush Bailouts to the tune of 17 Trillion Dollars have indeed, NOT SOLVED THE PROBLEM, but in reality HAVE MADE THINGS WORSE BY FAR!!
    So, go unto the http://www.larouchepac.com website and get all the material you can on the
    Glass-Steagall and NAWAPA projects and go to town with the solutions and stop making a solvable problem EVEN WORSE by cutting, cutting, cutting, cutting, education, medical care, veterans, old people, etc.. etc…. and KEEPING 17 TRILLION GOING TO BAIL OU THE GAMBLERS!!
    That policy is a TOTAL AND IMMORAL FAILURE. Killing people to bail out the international financial gamblers is TANTAMOUNT TO TREASON. It’s Time to Mind YOUR OWN NATION’s BUSINESS!

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