Minnesota news in brief at 7:58 p.m. CDT

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota — Minnesota House Republicans said Tuesday they'll strive for $2 billion in unspecified tax cuts in a budget that would squeeze spending, primarily on health and welfare programs but also in state government operation itself.

The GOP majority outlined broad targets to be filled in line-by-line over the next several weeks. The framework is essentially an opening bid toward upcoming negotiations with Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and majority Senate Democrats, with a $1.87 billion projected budget surplus for the two years beginning July 1 as the backdrop. The GOP plan would hold the state's two-year budget just under $40 billion, although that doesn't count a special transportation account proposed Monday that relies on money being drawn from the general treasury.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt said a "guiding principle" is to slow down the growth of state government.

"Minnesotans expect us to be effective and efficient with every dollar we spend always — even when we have a surplus," Daudt said.

Daudt said the tax-cut package will likely include an assortment of exemptions on Social Security income and veterans' benefits as well as some breaks for businesses. He ruled out a rebate program that would send every taxpayer a check.

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