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Pawlenty Says He Leaves Minn. With Balanced Budget

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Minn. Gov. Tim Pawlenty addresses supporters at the Conservative Political Action Conference annual meeting Feb. 19, 2010 in Washington, D.C.

Minn. Gov. Tim Pawlenty addresses supporters at the Conservative Political Action Conference annual meeting Feb. 19, 2010 in Washington, D.C.

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Departing Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he will leave Minnesota with a balanced budget, despite a projected $6.2 billion shortfall facing the state after his term ends.

The likely Republican presidential candidate reacted Thursday to a state budget forecast showing $399 million on the bottom line in June, followed by a gaping financial hole starting in July.

Pawlenty’s term is due to end in early January, unless a court contest over the undecided governor’s race keeps him in office longer.

The two-term governor says his plan to control government spending and stop tax increases has worked and the next budget is “manageable” through spending cuts. Pawlenty says the practice of forecasting automatic spending increases is “ridiculous and irrational.”

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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