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Politicians complain of cut

ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty's unilateral spending cuts, designed to balance Minnesota's budget, affect the poor seeking health care, cities and counties that will lose some state aid and countless others.

But the governor reported one complaint overshadows all others he has heard. It does not come from the poor or government officials. It comes from politicians over $10.8 million savings Pawlenty found by eliminating a program that provides Minnesotans a refund of up to $50 for political contributions.

Politicians who fear some of their money will dry up are soliciting potential donors like there is no tomorrow; the program could end July 1.

Especially affected is the Independence Party.

"On principle, the Independence Party of Minnesota has always agreed to fight its Republican and DFL opponents with one arm tied behind its back because of our refusal to accept and be influenced by special interest and lobbyist money," Independence Chairman Jack Uldrich wrote to supporters, urging donations now. "Now the governor is slicing off our other arm by eliminating the PCR (political contribution refund) program. ..."

Pawlenty's Republican Party is making a similar pitch.

"We are going to continue to fight the DFL, keep your taxes low and support common-sense Republicans, like Gov. Pawlenty, but we can't do it without your support!" GOP Chairman Ron Carey wrote to friends, including easy-to-click links to an on-line donation center in his e-mail.

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.