Friday, April 4, 2008

House, Senate Pass Budget Reduction Bills

The Minnesota House approved a budget bill that accounts for the $935-Million dollar shortfall in tax revenue. Brainerd lawmaker John Ward thinks it’s a good bill and includes a $51 per pupil increase for public education, no cuts to local government aid and a 2% increase for nursing home workers. House Minority Leader Marty Seifert thinks its not a good bill and it places the state's budget in jeopardy by "draining rainy day reserve funds when there is a tsunami forecast for next year." Seifert said the bill will raise taxes for 2009 by $232-Million and $416-Million in 2010 and 2011, and puts jobs in jeopardy by reducing tax advantages for Foreign Operating Corporations through the Foreign Royalty Subtraction provision. The bill reduces money to state agencies by $135-Million dollars, borrows $350-Million from the state’s budget reserve, and $250-Million from the Health Care Access Fund. Debate on the bill ended after 14 hours of debate at 2:30a this morning. A similar Senate bill passed last night on a voice vote. A conference committee will iron out the differences.

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