ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Republicans in the Minnesota House have carved out space in their budget to improve internet service in greater Minnesota.

The majority party took flak from Democrats and in newspaper editorials when its original budget didn't include any money for broadband development grants. Minnesota spent $20 million on the projects last year.

Greater Minnesota Partnership executive director Dan Dorman says high-speed internet infrastructure helps small cities attract business development. The former legislator's group lobbied Republicans to include $8 million in grants in the House budget proposal. Lawmakers added in the extra money Friday.

That recommendation is lower than the $30 million Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton wants to spend. Final numbers will become clear as budget negotiations play out over the last month of the legislative session.

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