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Minnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Paul Torkelson (R)

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Thursday, February 03, 2011
ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House of Representatives has approved an early action budget bill which would reduce Minnesota’s projected $6.2 billion deficit by $1 billion. State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Nelson Township) voted for the measure. “Last session the Democrat-controlled legislature approved hundreds of millions in cuts to the budget – on a one time basis,” Torkelson said. “One portion of this bill centers on making their previously established cuts permanent, so it’s a good first step towards resolving our deficit.” Torkelson said other spending measures include removing millions in automatic increases set for next year; reducing funding for the Legislature, constitutional offices and other state agencies; permanently eliminating the taxpayer-subsidized Political Contribution Refund; instituting two-year wage freeze on state government employees; and preventing a “Christmas in June” scenario where agencies spend whatever’s left in their budget on non-essential items in order to prove their future budgets shouldn’t be reduced. In addition, Local Government Aid amounts will remain at their 2010 funding levels. “Democrats are casting the impression that local governments might get more money, which is simply inaccurate,” Torkelson said. “Most county boards and city councils just want to know what they have to work with so they can begin to establish their budgets. I understand just how difficult this process is for them, which is why we needed to give them some certainty as to how to deal with their local budgets. The longer we wait on the LGA decision, the tougher it is for them to do their jobs.”