Archived Story

Reps: Cutting deficit doable

Published 11:07am Friday, December 7, 2012

The state budget deficit is projected at $1.1 billion, and with the DFL in the majority, Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen and Rep. Bud Nornes will have less involvement than Republicans in recent years.

“It certainly does change the role when you’re not in the majority anymore,” Nornes said. “In the minority, we are there to help and make suggestions, but the plan is always put together by the majority party.”

The projected $1.1 billion budget deficit is smaller than that of recent years, and both Ingebrigtsen and Nornes think the state can bring it down without significantly affecting residents.

“Two years ago when our party took office, the deficit was $5.6 billion, and we whittled down the deficit to nothing,” Ingebrigtsen said. “With the funds replenishment that has to happen with the school funding shift payments, it looks like we’re headed toward raising taxes, though I’m not saying I’m in favor of if.”

Nornes said balancing the $1.1 billion deficit is “pretty doable” considering the state brought down a $5.6 billion deficit in 2010.

“The $6 billion was balanced without having any new taxes, but some say we will need new taxes to pay down the $1 billion,” he said. “There’s going to be a difference in the way this is handled, and I’m looking forward to some spirited conversations and committee meetings in the coming months.”

Ingebrigtsen said there are still areas that can be trimmed back to bring down the budget, along with abuses and mismanagement to resolve in health and human services.

Nornes said the state needs to balance wants and needs based on realistic expectations of revenue.

“I guess you start by laying out the wants and needs, and then determine how many of those wants you can fulfill based on the revenue we can expect to have,” he said.

While the Minnesota DFL and GOP are not going to agree on the way in which the budget should be balanced, both parties want to see a zero in the budget deficit column.

“The voters sent a clear message they want us (the two parties) to get along, and that’s what we are going to do,” Ingebrigtsen said. “They don’t want another government shutdown.”

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