MINNEAPOLIS -- Tim Penny says if he's elected governor, he'd balance a predicted deficit with a mix of about two-thirds spending cuts and one-third revenue hikes, roughly the formula Gov. Jesse Ventura suggested for the last deficit.
Penny, who has been criticized by his Republican and Democratic opponents for not offering specifics when it comes to how he'd balance the budget, told The Associated Press in an interview that he's offered more detail than Democrat Roger Moe and Republican Tim Pawlenty.
A new statewide poll this week found Penny, of Ventura's Independence Party, running about even with both.
Penny's solutions also follow the rough outline of those suggested by Ventura, which the Legislature, run by Moe and Pawlenty, rejected.
He said some of his tax increases would come from expanding the sales tax to services, though he couldn't say which ones, and from increasing taxes on tobacco. He also says he would increase the gas tax by at least a nickel, to improve roads.
"Everything is on the table," he said, though he added that he doesn't want to raise income taxes.
He offered fewer specifics when it came to what he'd cut, but he said any pain would be spread evenly, and it won't be painless. Cuts could include school funding, college aid and money for local governments, he said.
"I'm giving you a range of options that I am willing to consider," he said. "The difference between what I am offering and what the others are offering is I'm putting more in the mix."
Penny also said he wouldn't look to the tobacco fund, roughly a half-billion dollar fund won in the state's lawsuit against tobacco companies, which Pawlenty has suggested should be tapped.
"It's not a detailed budget but it's certainly a much more well-developed blueprint than you're getting from the other candidates," he said.
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