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Democrats pressing for more spending, tax reductions

Posted by: under Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota legislature, Democrats, Republicans, State budgets Updated: March 28, 2014 - 3:30 PM

Minnesota Senate leaders will be finalizing their supplemental budget proposal next week, outlining how they want to spend the remaining money from the $1.2 billion projected budget surplus.

“This is lining up to be a historically short session,” said Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook.

Legislators already approved about $440 million in tax relief and another $150 million to increase budget reserves, leaving about $600 million for new spending.

Advocates are hoping the plan includes a widely supported raise for roughly 112,000 Minnesota care attendants for the elderly and disabled, matching a raise legislators authorized last year for state-paid nursing home workers.

House Democrats would like to spend roughly $100 million on additional tax relief, mostly to property owners, renters and military veterans.

“I don’t know how people would explain that more property tax relief isn’t a good idea,” said House Taxes Committee Chairwomen Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington. “It’s totally doable.”

Republicans have some questions about some provisions in the tax bill relating to bed and breakfasts, but are generally supportive of more tax relief.

“There’s some really good stuff in the tax bill, but there are a couple poison pills that we need to get out of there,” said state Rep. Greg Davids, a Preston Republican who is the GOP lead on the House taxes committee.


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