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m9515 BC-MN-Budget-Democrats 03-19 0169

DFLers see Pawlenty programs as fertile area for budget fix

Eds: APNewsNow; Will be led.

ST. PAUL (AP) — Two of Governor Tim Pawlenty’s prized programs are targeted by House Democrats in their budget fix, with some of the savings being used to send money to schools.

A tax bill on the table would repeal a Pawlenty program providing tax breaks to businesses that expand or relocate in distressed areas. An education plan would prevent expansion of a merit-pay program for teachers, known as QComp. Those dollars would go out to schools more generally.

The tax bill also does away with other corporate tax exemptions while at the same time cutting the business tax rate. Overall though, more money would come in to state coffers than would go out through the tax cut.

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Lawmakers are trying to plug an anticipated $935 million deficit.

The debate over a budget solution is expected to resume after the Legislature’s Easter break.

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