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Highlights of the three budget measures

ST. PAUL -- Highlights of three budget bills Minnesota legislative negotiators worked out Monday with Gov. Tim Pawlenty: - Transportation -- State will sell $400 million of bonds over four years to fund highway construction projects. That will le...

ST. PAUL -- Highlights of three budget bills Minnesota legislative negotiators worked out Monday with Gov. Tim Pawlenty:

- Transportation -- State will sell $400 million of bonds over four years to fund highway construction projects. That will leverage up to

$500 million in federal money.

Senate had wanted to raise gasoline tax and motor vehicle tab fees. House and Pawlenty wanted to borrow $550 million.

- Bonding -- Nearly $190 million worth of bonds will be sold to finance projects ranging from college construction to a new Guthrie Theater building in Minneapolis. Most of a $6 million account goes to flood-ravaged Roseau, with small amounts to elsewhere in northwestern Minnesota.

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Senate had wanted to borrow more than $377 million. The House and Pawlenty had no bonding bill.

- Local aid -- Local government aid to cities would fall an estimated 28 percent next year. Cities can raise property taxes next year to make up for 60 percent of the aid they lose; there will be no property tax limits in two years.

Up to 10 of Pawlenty's tax-free zones will be allowed. The state is to approve at least three of the zones in which new or expanding businesses would not be taxed.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Don Davis at (651) 290-0707

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