Bills with big pieces of Minn. budget circulate

Democrats in the Minnesota Legislature are criticizing the Republican majority for pushing through several budget bills without giving the public enough time to know what's in the bills.

GOP committee chairs in the House and Senate will release their respective budget bills this week which will outline billions of dollars in cuts to health and human services programs, state agencies and cities and counties.

DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen said Republicans shouldn't say they're passing a budget plan that doesn't raise taxes if the cuts force lower and middle income Minnesotans to pay more.

"Those budgets, even the ones that have been released, are filled with hidden taxes, increases in tuition, fee increases and repeals a current tax breaks like the renter's credit and market value home credit that are going to raise taxes on just about every person in Minnesota," Thissen said.

Republicans say the public has plenty of time to weigh in on their budget plans. Committee chairs have until Friday to approve the bills.

As they set the next two-year budget, lawmakers are trying to solve an anticipated $5 billion deficit.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton put out a state budget plan in February. Revisions to that proposal are expected Monday because an improved economic forecast allowed him a chance to temper unpopular aspects.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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