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State Representative Bob Gunther

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Posted: 2010-03-09 00:00:00
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NEWS RELEASE

REP. GUNTHER SAYS BUDGET REDUCTION WORK TO BEGIN SOON


ST. PAUL – Following the release of the latest budget forecast which shows Minnesota faces a $994 million budget deficit for the current year, State Representative Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont) says some of the budget reductions will begin in the coming days.

“House Democratic leadership has told most of its committee chairs to find areas to trim from their budgets,” Gunther said. “But for now, they are giving the health and human services committee and the education committee a pass until later, which is a problem because these two areas make up about two thirds of the state’s budget.”

Gunther has learned that House leadership wants to trim roughly $313 million from the budget in areas outside of health and human services and K-12 Education. This includes programs in public safety, agriculture, veterans affairs, higher education, transportation, and the environment.

Gunther also expects the majority party to utilize $387 million in federal funds to buy down the deficit. This means without raising taxes or finding a new revenue source – like a state operated casino – the majority party would look to cut $294 million from HHS and education programs.

The problem, according to Gunther, is that Democrats are writing all of these bills behind the scenes and without public input, much as they did in Washington with the federal health care plan.

“Once again, Republicans won’t get to read the proposals until they get thrown on our desks the day we’re supposed to vote,” Gunther said. “But I doubt we’ll really get down to the back room bill crafting until after the DFL endorses one of their legislative candidates for governor. With five DFL lawmakers vying for the top prize, there’s much more political posturing that needs to take place before the deficit can be solved.”

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