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Not all DFL priorities will get done

Last week was a time for Minnesota Democrats to downplay expectations.

On Wednesday, state officials announced that there would be no big infusion of money for the two-year budget that begins July 1. That led to Democrats to say legislators cannot do everything some Minnesotans expected.

On Friday, Assistant Senate Majority Leader Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, said there will not be enough money or time to overhaul the health-care system; implement all-day, every-day kindergarten; or cover all children's health-care needs.

In November, Republicans and Democrats alike said they were thankful for a nearly $2.2 billion surplus. On Wednesday, Finance Department officials said not much had changed in those three months, but Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, said there is not enough money for senators' priorities without increasing taxes.

"We think it is a very good signal that our finance commissioner didn't use the word 'surplus,'" Clark said.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Democrats "over promised" in the campaign. "They got themselves in a jam."

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.