House taps state surplus for another $322 million in spending

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After more than nine hours of debate Thursday night, House lawmakers approved a budget proposal that would spend more of the state's surplus.

The bill, which was fiercely criticized by the GOP, allocates the $322 million of the state's $1.2 billion budget surplus for what House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, called "things that (Minnesotans) treasure -- schools, caregivers, broadband, economic development, jobs and transportation," the Pioneer Press reports.

Republicans offered dozens of amendments. But DFL lawmakers approved the measure on a 70-59 vote along party lines.

Before debate began, DFL leaders touted increased money for K-12 schools, caregivers for the elderly and disabled and roads battered by winter.

The Senate is expected to approve its budget plan Monday. Both chambers would have to work out differences before sending a final bill to the governor.

The plans adjust a two-year, $39 billion budget adopted last spring. A strengthening economy and increasing tax collections led to a $1.2 billion surplus, half of which went to tax relief and a reserve fund, KARE 11 reports.

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