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Minnesota legislators, governor discuss budget woes

ST. PAUL -- A Minnesota Supreme Court ruling Wednesday could empty the state's cash reserves if organizations whose budgets were cut by Gov. Tim Pawlenty last year go to court seeking their money back.

Pawlenty and legislative leaders met Thursday morning to discuss the state's ongoing budget deficit and the court's decision that Pawlenty's use of unilateral budget cuts to balance the budget in 2009 was illegal.

That decision potentially added another $2.7 billion for lawmakers to plug before the session ends on May 17.

Lawmakers emerged from Pawlenty's office saying they had a productive meeting, though they still disagree on the best solutions to the deficit.

Brian McClung, the governor's spokesman, joined Republican leaders in calling for the Legislature to vote Pawlenty's cuts into law.

"That would be the best way to resolve any remaining questions," McClung said.

Democratic leaders do not agree.

The Governor's "proposal is not viable," said Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis.

Leaders will meet again at 3 p.m.

Andrew Tellijohn reports for Forum Communications Co.