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Editorial: State deficit to hit cities outstate

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opinion Willmar, 56201
West Central Tribune
(320) 235-6769 customer support
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

Minnesota faces a $1.2 billion projected state budget deficit. Citizens should not expect to see a quick resolution to this growing challenge.

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Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he will not call a special session to deal with the budget, but is consider-ing an emergency unallotment plan that would hit cities again and even K-12 funding.

The Minnesota Legislature does not meet until early February and will not likely take immediate action.

It is likely the budget cuts will have impact all around the state.

Unfortunately, Pawlenty's likely budget strategy of unallotment of city and K-12 funding will hit hardest in Greater Minnesota, an area of the state for which Pawlenty has little empathy.

While Pawlenty paints a broad brush of criticism of schools districts for approving pay raises, he continues to travel outside the state on a regular basis in pursuit of his own political ambitions for 2012.

At the same time, many cities like Willmar have stepped up to mitigate recent local-government aid reductions by cutting services and/or dipping into reserves. Not all cities have been able to absorb these cuts.

Now Pawlenty wants to cut December's LGA funding payment, which will force cities across the state to cut more services and/or raise property taxes.

The DFL-controlled Legislature most do its part as well. That means finding a way to work with Pawlenty to balance the budget and spread the funding cut pain.

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