Pawlenty ups spending in down economy

Gov. Tim Pawlenty

Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s newest budget plan increases education, courts and other spending, despite a worsening economy.

And he still opposes raising state taxes, although Democrats say his policies would force nearly $2 billion higher local property taxes.

News early this month that the budget slipped $2 billion deeper into deficit was more than offset by federal economic stimulus money, so his new budget plan differs relatively little from his first proposal. However, Democrats took off the gloves after weeks of criticizing Pawlenty’s budget around the edges, saying his plans would be disastrous for the state beginning in 2012.

Pawlenty’s new budget plan for 2010-2011 would slightly increase spending for public school education, higher education, local government aid and public safety. However, it would cut state-run health programs $1.4 billion.

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