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Minn. high court sets budget-cuts case for March

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Supreme Court agreed to swiftly consider whether Gov. Tim Pawlenty went too far with single-handed cuts to the state budget.

Justices set arguments for March 15 in Pawlenty's appeal of a lower court's ruling. That earlier decision reinstated money for a nutrition program for elderly and disabled residents with low incomes.

The ruling left a larger cloud around a package of $2.7 billion in spending cuts and deferrals Pawlenty relied on to balance the state budget.

Democrats argue that Pawlenty misused an executive authority called unallotment to deny them a role in setting the budget. The GOP governor says he acted within the law.

Briefs are due beginning Feb. 9. A ruling is likely to take days or weeks after the March oral arguments.

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