Weather Forecast


Senate passes budget bill

The Senate gave final approval Monday to its plan to balance the state's $935 million budget deficit.

The bill makes spending cuts of between 3 percent and 4 percent to most state agencies and uses budget reserves and available cash.

Senate Finance Chairman Richard Cohen, DFL-St. Paul, said, while unpleasant, the bill is needed to erase the deficit. Senators voted 40-25 for the bill, which does not fund some of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's priorities.

"It's kind of a poke in the eye to the governor," said Sen. Claire Robling, R-Jordan.

A House-Senate conference committee will be needed to iron out differences between competing budget bills as lawmakers look toward negotiations with Pawlenty.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.