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Pawlenty won't cut local aid this month
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news Morris, 56267
Morris Minnesota 607 Pacific Avenue 56267

By Don Davis

St. Paul Capitol Bureau

ST. PAUL - Minnesota cities and counties will not lose state aid payments later this month.

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Gov. Tim Pawlenty's office on Tuesday announced he will not reduce or eliminate local aid December payments to help plug a $1.2 billion hole in the current two-year budget. Last week, Pawlenty said that he would consider taking that action.

But the Republican governor did not rule out future cuts.

In a letter to city and county leaders, the governor wrote: "Given the imminent expected payment of December local aid, I have determined that additional local aid program cuts, if any, should be focused on future payments."

A year ago, Pawlenty faced another deficit and he reduced local payments that were due around Christmas. That put cities and counties in a bind, they said, because their budgets already included the state aid payments and they had no way to make changes so late in the year.

About $437 million in state aid payments are to be sent to cities and counties later this month.

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