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Budget details finally flow fast in governor's race

ST. PAUL — Long-scarce details on how rivals for Minnesota governor would fix the state budget finally emerged Tuesday, with Republican Tom Emmer outlining spending he'd crimp and Democrat Mark Dayton conceding his tax plan won't generate as much money as he hoped.

The developments add new sparks to a tight race seven weeks from the finish line. Minnesota's new governor must tackle a deficit projected at $5.8 billion for the coming two years.

Emmer, a three-term state legislator, had been under attack for months for not saying how he would plug the hole without raising taxes. Criticism shifted quickly as interest groups and partisan foes hit him over proposals to dial back spending on subsidized health programs, higher education and state assistance to local governments.

His plan would cap two-year state spending at $32.3 billion, the amount the state would have in hand after cutting more than $600 million in business taxes he previously proposed. That's above the $30.7 billion currently being spent, but doesn't account for payments to schools that were put off or soon-expiring federal stimulus dollars that propped up state programs before.

"You only have a deficit if you're not willing to live within your means, Emmer told a Capitol news conference. "You only have a deficit if you are committed to spending more than the state has to spend."

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