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The Associated Press January 27, 2011, 6:31PM ET

Minn. House passes 1st wave of budget cuts

The Minnesota House has approved $1 billion in state budget cuts that would reduce aid payments for local governments, colleges and community health programs.

Thursday's vote was 68-63, the bare minimum for passage, on a bill that would also freeze pay to state workers in upcoming contract negotiations.

It's the opening salvo in a budget debate between Republicans who control the Legislature and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. Ultimately, they must find a way to close a $6.2 billion budget gap.

Dayton objects to the piece-by-piece approach, though he has stopped short of saying he'd veto the bill if it gets to him. The Senate intends to act on its version next week.

Dayton will lay out his budget plan on Feb. 15.

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