ST. PAUL (AP) -- Gov. Tim Walz is turning up the heat on lawmakers to try to prevent the state's 2 percent tax on health care providers from expiring at the end of the year.

Speaking at a Capitol rally Thursday, Walz said the tax is crucial for funding health care programs. He urged lawmakers not to jeopardize the care of 1.1 Minnesotans and not to blow a $1.1 billion hole in the budget.

But Walz is up against Republicans who want to let the tax expire. House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt says keeping it would raise health care costs for all Minnesotans, and the state has enough money to fund health care programs for people who really need them.

Walz says Republicans are waging ``an ideological fight'' and that their claims are false.