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Red Wing officials react to session's end

The big questions were left unanswered when state lawmakers wrapped their legislative session Monday - at least in the eyes of Red Wing city officials.

They want to know how much of the $2.7 million in state aid Red Wing was set to receive for this year will be cut.

"We're no closer to knowing," city Finance Director Marshall Hallock said Tuesday.

Leaders from the Democrat-controlled Legislature couldn't come to an agreement with Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty on the state's bi-annual budget. Lawmakers won't go into special session. Rather, Pawlenty will slash $2.7 billion from the budget using executive veto powers.

City officials said they're concerned about Pawlenty making the final budget cuts by himself.

"We're worried he's going to balance the budget on the backs of cities and counties - who provide the real services," Red Wing City Council member Lisa Bayley said Tuesday.

Bayley added that she sympathizes with the governor's position, saying it's tough to make hard cuts.

For months, the council has been looking to make its own tough cuts, but in many respects they've been stymied. Uncertainty at the state level has hindered concrete budgeting locally.

"We're in the same exact spot and it is May 19," Hallock said.

Council member Dean Hove said, "From my opinion, it is the worst case scenario." Hove said the council has spent several months planning for the worst, however.

Red Wing was set to receive three different pieces of state aid - local government aid, market value tax credits and utility aid, which it receives for hosting the Prairie Island nuclear power plant.

"It's a wait and see game," Hallock said.

Capitol Bureau reporter Don Davis contributed to this story.

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