Tim Pawlenty and Legislature agree on Minnesota budget deal

Ladies and gentlemen, it looks like we have a deal. The Minnesota House and Senate have both passed a compromise budget bill that Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he will sign.

If he does, it heads off the state's potential $3 billion shortfall, including ratification of some $2.7 billion in spending cuts that were originally part of Pawlenty's unilateral budget cuts last year, as well as school payment delays.

In the wee hours, House Majority Leader Tony Sertich promised a "balanced budget by sunrise," after Gov. Tim Pawlenty approved, at midnight, a special session to nail down the bill. He wasn't far off.

And thus ended the session and began the November campaign for governor.

"DFLers stood up for Minnesotans," declared DFL-endorsed Margaret Anderson Kelliher, who also played a key role in the negotiations as house majority leader. "We stood up to Tim Pawlenty and 'Just Say No' Republicans. Standing together Democrats fought for a responsible, balanced budget to protect students, create jobs, and make health care more affordable."

No, wait, the Republicans won!

"First of all, we should be grateful to Governor Pawlenty for once again protecting Minnesota families and businesses from tax increases," the GOP-endorsed Tom Emmer said, continuing with a rap in the DFL-control Legislature.

A pox on both your houses, said Independence Party candidate Tom Horner.

"The budget deal negotiated by the Legislature and Governor Pawlenty is a reflection of Tom Emmer's Minnesota with the DFL leadership's seal of approval," Horner said. "The budget defers every major decision to next year while imposing higher costs on businesses and new burdens on schools and cities. Instead of facing up to the hard choices, legislators have created a budget deficit that will be as much as $9 billion in the first year of the new governor's term."

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