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ST. PAUL – On Sunday May 18, lawmakers wrapped up the 2008 legislative session after House and Senate DFL leadership agreed to a proposal that eliminates Minnesota’s projected $935 million budget deficit. State Representative Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont) said negotiations lasted until the bitter end.
“The Democrats kept fighting for increased spending when we really needed to make cuts,” Gunther said. “This is why it took until the final minutes of session to reach a compromise with Governor Pawlenty.”
Gunther said the budget problem was solved by making $355 million in spending cuts, using $500 million in the state’s rainy day fund, and acquiring $100 million by closing some loopholes in Minnesota’s corporate tax system.
Legislative leaders and Governor Pawlenty also agreed on a property relief package, which includes $25 million for direct property tax relief and $60 million for Local Government Aid, along with a provision that caps local levy increases at 3.9 % for three years.
But Gunther said the real winners this session were Minnesota taxpayers, as House Republicans in partnership with Governor Pawlenty were able to prevent more than $5 billion in proposed tax increases from becoming law.
“We saw an unbelievable amount of legislation over the past two years seeking to take more money out of Minnesotan’s pocketbooks,” Gunther said. “It’s always a bad idea to raise taxes on folks when they have less money to spend and are hurting financially.”
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