Republican leaders of the Minnesota House unveiled their targets for getting rid of the state's $5 billion budget gap, a few hours after their Senate counterparts laid out their targets.

The House budget target is $33.9 billion, compared to the $34.2 billion budget proposed by the Senate leadership. They're similar, however, in relying on cuts in spending as opposed to increasing taxes to eliminate the deficit. By comparison, Dayton's $37.4 budget plan would combine spending cuts with increased income taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans.

Despite the differences between the two plans unveiled Thursday, House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, said of the two chambers, "we're lockstep."

The House plan also contains a proposal for income tax relief totaling $300 million for low- and moderate-income Minnesotans, aiming to "let the folks who earn the money keep a little bit," Zellers said. "Let them keep it and they will spend it."

 State government, transportation, environment and economic development would face the largest proportionate cuts under the House plan, although spending in those areas make up a relatively small part of the overall budget.

Spending on K-12 education and health and human services, which consume the lion's share of the budget, would be spared cuts under the House plan, but would be increased considerably less than Dayton has proposed.

Many details of the plan are still to be worked out by House committees in the next few weeks.



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