Minnesota stands to get more than $4 billion from the federal stimulus bill, the state's only senator, Democrat Amy Klobuchar, said Friday.
Klobuchar - a stimulus supporter - said her staff has been sifting through data for the state's share of spending on education, health care, transportation and other areas. Her working number omits tax cuts and grant funds for rural broadband service and health care technology.
"It's well over $4 billion and we don't know how far it will reach right now," she said shortly before voting for the $787 billion package.
Klobuchar said the total could climb higher because the state can apply for grants. She said Minnesota is in line for $2 billion for health and welfare programs, $1.1 billion for schools and nearly $600 million for roads and transit. She said stimulus tax cuts - $800 for families, $400 for individuals - will reach more than 2 million Minnesota families.
The senator said her figures are preliminary but indicate concrete spending for Minnesota.
It's not clear how much it will help the state with a $4.8 billion deficit, which could swell to as much as $6 billion or $7 billion when forecasters factor in the full extent of the economy's deterioration. Only some categories of stimulus spending apply to the budget gap.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty's top finance official, Tom Hanson, told lawmakers Thursday that he expects the federal aid to ease the deficit by more than $2 billion. Further details were hard to come by as the bill was rushed through Congress.
On Friday, Minnesota Management and Budget spokesman Curt Yoakum said Klobuchar's numbers are roughly in line with the information Pawlenty's administration is getting, but there are some discrepancies. He said the state Department of Human Services is coming up with $1.8 billion and hasn't been able to explain a $200 million difference with a spreadsheet figure.
"There will definitely still be some fluctuation," he said. "I'm just hoping it's not in the hundreds of millions."
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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