Monday, May 19, 2008

Star Tribune: Legislature adjourns after budget deal reached

Property tax relief, budget cuts and new public facilities add up to a session all sides called one of the most successful in years as the Legislature adjourned.
Last update: May 19, 2008 - 10:05 AM

Fireworks burst outside the State Capitol Sunday night -- a celebration of 150 years of statehood. But, for a change, few explosions occurred inside the historic building, after Gov. Tim Pawlenty and legislative leaders reached agreement on a budget that ended the 2008 legislative session.

The House and Senate processed bills to ratify the leaders' agreement, and both chambers adjourned shortly before midnight, with generally good feelings prevailing.

The closing deal means more Minnesotans will be covered by health insurance, more money will flow to public schools and nursing homes, a light-rail line between Minneapolis and St. Paul is a step closer to reality, and so is Minnesota's first new major state park in 40 years.

Property tax relief is also on the way, in several forms. Pawlenty and legislative negotiators agreed to limit increases in city and county property taxes to 3.9 percent annually for the next three years.

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