State officials outline more budget cuts

Gov. Tim Pawlenty's solo budget-balancing plan drew closer to completion Friday, when his administration announced another $13.6 million in cuts that will hit tax and human services bureaucracy, Twin Cities transit and natural resources programs.

Everything from a consumer concern hotline to public health outreach, state-level school administration, information technology security and Pawlenty's own office will get less.

A Revenue Department account, the Human Services Department's financial operations and Metro Transit aid will absorb the biggest cuts.

The latest reductions will take effect for the budget year beginning next July. Minnesota Management and Budget released the details in a letter to legislative budget and tax leaders.

Most state agencies are also cutting of a total of $11 million in the current budget year.

Still pending are $200 million in cuts to local governments for the upcoming budget year.

Management and Budget Commissioner Tom Hanson said those reductions will be implemented by the middle of January, finishing Pawlenty's current exercise of an obscure power called unallotment to erase a $2.7 billion deficit without the consent of the Democrat-led Legislature.

The Republican governor and lawmakers failed to agree on a full budget before the legislative session ended in May.

Pawlenty vetoed a DFL-backed bill that would have balanced the budget by raising taxes and delaying payments to schools, instead opting to go it alone.

His plan eliminated the state's budget shortfall by delaying $1.8 billion in payments to schools and slashing $1 billion in spending, mainly affecting aid to local governments, health and welfare programs and higher education.

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