Letter: Magnus responds to governor's proposal
On Jan. 27, Gov. Tim Pawlenty unveiled his ideas that would form the state's budget for the next two years while solving Minnesota's projected $4.8 billion deficit.
The governor's plan is simply a starting point. It's important to note that the governor's proposal deals with November's budget forecast. When those numbers are updated at the beginning of March, I expect we'll be facing more pain. But for now, the plan is a good basis to start the budget discussion.
To erase the $4.8 budget shortfall, the governor proposed $2.5 billion worth of spending reductions, while utilizing spending shifts and expected federal stimulus funding to make up the rest of the difference.
The areas of health and welfare spending, higher education, and local government aid would take the brunt of the reductions under his plan.
All state agencies, including the Legislature, would also receive a 5 percent funding reduction.
The governor's budget proposal for FY 2010-11 would spend $33.61 billion, a 2.2 percent reduction from current FY 2008-09 general fund expenditures of $34.36 billion.
I agree with some of the governor's ideas, but not all. The Legislature will now look at his proposal and move forward. But the important factor to all of this is what shakes out in the February forecast. We receive more disturbing economic news every day, so we'll really know the fiscal hand we're dealt about one month from now.