ST. PAUL (AP) -- House Republicans outlined a budget plan Thursday that is similar to Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty's no-tax-increase proposal, but makes a few priorities of its own.
House Republicans would include more funding for local government aid, ethanol projects, higher education, nursing homes and senior programs than does Pawlenty.
House Speaker Steve Sviggum said House Republicans had listened to people in their districts in making the changes, but they also listened to the governor, whom he called his "best friend."
"If 99.9 percent isn't enough, he'd better find a new best friend," said Sviggum, R-Kenyon.
Since the governor released his proposal earlier this year, local elected officials and senior citizens have pressured lawmakers to spare them such deep cuts.
For instance, Pawlenty proposed cutting Senior Corps, which pays a small hourly stipend to seniors who serve as foster grandparents, and home-delivered meals. He also suggested reducing the rate the state pays nursing homes.
House GOP leaders restored some of those funds, along with money for higher education and state aid to cities, known as Local Government Aid. Local officials have said cuts as deep as what Pawlenty recommended would mean cuts in basic services such as police and fire response.
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