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Lawmakers asked to rethink flood aid

Associated Press

ST. PAUL -- It's back to the drawing board for legislative leaders trying to craft a flood-relief plan that could get aid to northwestern Minnesota yet this fall.

House Speaker Steve Sviggum and Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe presented a $35.4 million proposal Monday to Gov. Jesse Ventura, who asked them to take another look at it.

Ventura is concerned with $13.1 million the leaders had proposed taking from money the Legislature left as a budget reserve last session.

Recent state revenue forecasts show that the money might not be available, so Ventura asked them to pare the amount to $10 million and take it from existing programs.

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He also asked them to remove specific provisions in the plan for where that money should go, giving the administration more flexibility to spend money where it is needed.

The remaining $18.3 million would be borrowed and paid back over a number of years.

Sviggum and Moe said they'll try to come up with a new plan to present to Ventura this week but said it won't be easy. They trimmed millions of dollars from state-funded programs earlier this year to balance the budget.

Still, they hope to agree on a plan and have the governor call them back into a special session as early as next week.

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