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Pawlenty eyes health programs

To help balance the state budget, Gov. Tim Pawlenty would reduce health spending $125 million, he said Thursday.

General Assistance Medical Care, Medical Assistance and other health-related programs would be cut, he said in a letter to House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, both Minneapolis Democrats.

The proposal came after legislative leaders complained that Pawlenty's first budget offer on Monday did not specify where he would make cuts.

Pawlenty and legislative leaders are looking for ways to balance a $935 million state budget deficit.

Monday's Pawlenty offer was the first of what was expected to be a series of offers and counter offers by the governor and Democratic legislative leaders.

Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, complained that Pawlenty always wants to take funds away from "sick people" when he tries to balance the budget.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.