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Highlights of government finance bill

By the Associated Press

Here are some highlights of the $468 million funding bill for state agencies and services. It was approved Monday by a vote of 108-26 in the House and 67-0 in the Senate.

Significant cuts to the legislative and executive branches of government, with lower spending levels even then what were proposed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. It includes a $2.5 million cut to the Legislature, and extends a freeze on lawmaker pay increases for another two years. It also cuts funds for state departments including Finance, Administration, Employee Relations and the state agencies led by elected officers.

Several provisions to assist veterans and active-duty military personnel. It provides $7.7 million to fully reimburse college tuition for Minnesota National Guard soldiers. It includes reenlistment bonuses for the Guard, and money to speed up claims processing and to reach out to underserved veterans.

Money for the Department of Revenue to put more teeth into pursuing errant taxpayers, with a goal of collecting an extra $18 million a year in tax revenue.

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It removes a measure approved by the Senate that would have forced the Pawlenty administration to lay off more than 100 agency officials that some DFL senators said were political appointees.

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