ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Legislative Republicans pushing a $1 billion package of spending cuts have softened the long-term effect on cities and counties.

The House Ways and Means Committee changed the bill Monday to make reductions in local government aid temporary instead of permanent.

The bill would decrease projected aid by more than $400 million over the next two years. But the aid would spring back to higher levels in 2013 unless lawmakers intervened again.

Democrats have been arguing that the cuts to local aids will drive up property taxes.

The legislation also targets spending on higher education, state agencies and social services for reductions.

Committee Chairwoman Mary Liz Holberg says she expects the full House to vote on the bill later this week.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)