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It is understandable why Rep. Tom Huntley of Duluth napped early Monday. As chairman of the Minnesota House health and human services finance committee, he has worked longer hours than most lawmakers in recent days trying to come up with a budget compromise. Lawmakers waited for hours to see the final budget bill. Don Davis/Forum Communications Co.

Legislators end hard year with balanced budget

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ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators knew they were in for a tough year when they arrived at the Capitol on Feb. 4.

After three and a half months, they needed another 11 hours to finish the hardest job, balancing the state's $3 billion budget deficit. They did that work by delaying $1.9 billion in school payments, to be repaid in the next several years, and forcing nearly $1 billion in spending cuts, mostly in health and human services programs.

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Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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