Religious Leaders Hold Summit With State Lawmakers

Created: 01/06/2013 9:32 PM KSTP.com By: Jay Kolls

Minnesota faces a 1.1-billion dollar budget deficit and state lawmakers get after it starting Tuesday.  It will be a tough task to trim the deficit and that's why religious leaders held a summit with nearly two dozen lawmakers to remind them they have a moral responsibility to make sure those who are less fortunate do not get lost the budget shuffle. Every budget year, many special interest groups fight to hang on to what they have and try to get a little more and this year will probably not be much different.

State Senator Richard Cohen has worked on state budgets for over three decades. The St. Paul DFL veteran tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS this year's deficit will be "tough to handle." Senator Cohen says it is likely there will be a need for spending cuts along with tax hikes if lawmakers are determined to balance the budget. Senator Cohen told us the one area he considers off limits to spending cuts is higher education.

The summit was held Sunday at Mt. Zion Temple in St. Paul.