Sections

Weather Forecast

Close
Advertisement

Budget deficit gets attention

Email News Alerts

ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Legislature's first week brought a much-acclaimed funding measure for arts and outdoors programs.

On Week 2, a transportation funding bill passed. The session's upcoming third week, however, no doubt will be a downer as some predict that a state budget deficit could top $1 billion.

Advertisement
Advertisement

A November outlook put the deficit at $373 million, but legislative leaders now expect something more than twice that. House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, said on Friday that her intelligence is that Gov. Tim Pawlenty predicts it to be three times the November number.

No one who knows the deficit figure is talking about it to reporters, but all will know late Thursday morning when the latest budget forecast and economic review will be released.

Legislative leaders say that it appears they will concentrate on making cuts to state programs to balance the budget, but did not rule out attempting a tax increase over Pawlenty's objections.

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, said senators asked Pawlenty to give them his suggestions for budget cuts within a week of Thursday's budget report. There is no indication Pawlenty will comply with those wishes.

The deficit will permeate everything lawmakers do from here on, Clark said.

Advertisement
Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
Advertisement
Advertisement