ST. PAUL (AP) - A cost-cutting bill that freezes government worker pay for two years, alters state employee health insurance and slices budgets for most agencies has cleared the Minnesota Senate.

The austerity measures are part of a broader GOP-crafted budget proposal that would set spending for the next two years and plug a $5 billion deficit.

Under the bill, approved 36-29, the state would spend almost 60 percent less than Minnesota was due to allocate for a range of agency functions. The bill is $500 million leaner than recommendations from Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton.

State workers would be shifted into high-deductible insurance plans with costs partially offset by state contributions to health savings accounts.

The bill sets a goal of slimming the state work force by 15 percent in the next few years.

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