UPDATE: Wisconsin, Minnesota Look for Savings Together

UPDATED Sunday, August 2, 2009 --- 5:30 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — As it turns out, mating gophers and badgers isn't so easy.

Months after Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle and Republican Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty released a plan to save money by working together, many of the ideas have been scrapped as unworkable or delayed. Others are still being worked out.

The governors originally put the savings at $10 million for each state, but Doyle's office estimates Wisconsin's savings at just over $74,000 so far.

Pawlenty's office refused to offer an estimate, but of 17 Minnesota agencies surveyed by the AP, only the Revenue Department quantified a benefit: At just over $2,500.

The collaboration idea, called "Minnesconsin," came up in January as both states were dealing with massive budget shortfalls.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.


UPDATED Tuesday, March 31, 2009 --- 11:59 a.m.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Minnesota and Wisconsin are planning to save about $10 million each by working together on everything from oversize load permits to prison menus.

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle joined Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty at a St. Paul news conference Tuesday to outline dozens of areas of cooperation before traveling together to Eau Claire, Wis.

Doyle says some of the joint work could get started within a couple of months.

Savings could come from working together on border issues including pest control, comparing notes before buying software and other technology, and crosschecking records to increase collections of child support and income taxes.

The two governors are also talking about collaborating to draw federal money for a high-speed rail line from Chicago through Wisconsin to the Twin Cities.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


UPDATED Monday, March 30, 2009 --- 5:35 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republican Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle are set to announce how their neighboring states might be able to work together to save some money.

Pawlenty and Doyle scheduled a news conference Tuesday in Eau Claire. They plan to highlight findings of a report detailing potential cost savings.

In January, the two governors signed an executive order directing state agency leaders to look for opportunities to save money by making purchases together, sharing resources or other steps.

Both states face budget shortfalls in the billions and are under pressure to cut costs.

Pawlenty came up with the idea to work together with Doyle.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


UPDATED Tuesday, January 13, 2009 --- 11:20 a.m.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The governors of Wisconsin and Minnesota are hoping to share some products and services as they cope with massive deficits.

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, announced their plan at a news conference Tuesday in St. Paul. They have directed their top aides to look at teaming up in multiple ways to save money.

For instance, they could share purchasing of things like road salt, heavy equipment, software and institutional food. They also might share some fixed assets, like a helicopter service for natural resources work.

The governors haven't said how much money might be saved.

Wisconsin faces a deficit of $5.4 billion by June 2011. Minnesota is looking at a deficit of $4.8 billion in its upcoming two-year budget.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


Posted Monday, January 12, 2009 --- 2:30 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle and Republican Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty plan to announce a "major joint initiative" involving their two states on Tuesday.

They are scheduled to appear together in St. Paul, Minnesota, in the morning and then in Madison two and a half hours later.

The offices issued nearly identical announcements that did not contain details on what the initiative entailed. Doyle's spokesman Lee Sensenbrenner says the announcement involves finding efficiencies and cutting government spending.

Wisconsin is facing a projected $5.4 billion budget shortfall by mid-2011. Minnesota's shortfall is pegged at $4.8 billion.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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