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Rep. Morrie Lanning of Moorhead tells a House committee Monday that the first steps to eliminate poverty in Minnesota do not have to be costly. Looking on is Rep. Carlos Mariani of St. Paul.

Lawmakers look at cheap ways to end poverty

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ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators face a dilemma: Can they spend money from a tight budget to eliminate poverty by 2020?

If they spend money now, Rep. Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul, said, more people would go to work and the state's economy would improve. But since lawmakers are not likely to start many new spending programs in light of a several-billion budget deficit, Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, said they can start the process by looking at improvements that cost little.

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