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Political Notebook: Pawlenty's budget plan heavy on cuts

Gov. Tim Pawlenty warns Minnesotans that his budget plan will cut a lot of budgets.

Democrats said they can accept some cuts, but still support a "balanced approach," which can be defined as a mix of cuts and tax increases.

The real budget discussions begin today because Republican Pawlenty will release his proposals for adjusting the current two-year, $30 billion budget to plug a $1.2 billion deficit. He already has cut $2.7 billion.

"Our budget will protect veterans, it will protect the military, it will protect core public safety issues," as well as public school classrooms, he said.

However, all other budget areas will be at risk when he announces the changes he wants in the current two-year, $30 billion budget. Pawlenty says his entire budget-balancing effort will be by cuts.

"His budget proposal needs to be decisive," Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, said. "It cannot be a dodge."

House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, has his doubts about Pawlenty's budget. "I'm still not convinced he can make those cuts," he said.

Pogemiller and House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, said they hope to pass the budget fix in three pieces, starting with the easiest and working to the toughest cuts.

Self court help

Minnesota's Appeals Court now provides free help to people who want to appeal district court actions.

The help is available at and court officials say the site was designed for use by non-lawyers. It explains the appeals process.

"We hope Minnesotans considering filing an appeal will find our new self-help center a useful resource," Chief Appeals Judge Edward Toussaint said.

Another loss

The Minnesota Vikings' luck in the Capitol is no better than their luck getting to the Super Bowl.

One of the few proposals presented to build a new Vikings stadium, to replace the 30-year-old Metrodome, is not acceptable to many key policymakers.

A bill by Rep. Paul Kohls, R-Victoria, to give the Metrodome to the Vikings for $1 is going nowhere, legislative leaders and Gov. Tim Pawlenty said. A gambling proposal due to be introduced within a couple of weeks could feature some Vikings funding.

Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.