House GOP calls for cuts to state's workforce

Republicans in the Minnesota House are proposing a 12 percent reduction in the state's workforce, a salary freeze for state employees and other cuts to state agencies.

State Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, says his budget proposal would aggressively redesign how state government does business.

"All along we've said that we need to change the way we do business," said Lanning. "This bill presents a number of opportunities for us to reform the ways in which we do things. Things that will save us hundreds of millions of dollars."

Republicans say their plan would streamline state government services, and the cuts in the state's workforce are needed to reflect the state's struggling economy.

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But Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, says the bill is unfocused in how it cuts spending.

"It totally dumps on public employees," said Kahn. "It does not have a realistic way of dealing with the total parts of the state budget that the agencies in State Government Finance should."

Democrats say the bill is an assault on the state's workforce.

Republicans in the Minnesota House and Senate are releasing their budget specifics this week. They say they can erase the state's $5 billion projected budget deficit without raising taxes.

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton relies on an income tax hike on Minnesota's top earners as a part of his budget solution.