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Minnesota Lawmakers Prepare To Tackle Budget

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By Adam Thomas, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

ST. PAUL (WCCO/AP) — Minnesota’s deficit for the upcoming budget cycle has grown to $6.2 billion.  On the flip side, the state has a $399 million surplus in the current budget year, which ends in June.

The deficit for the 2011-2012 budget cycle that begins in July has worsened since finance officials last outlined their expectations nine months ago.  The short-term positive balance is still a bright spot.

Another bright spot is an expected growth in revenue.

“Actually, there’s going to be an increase in revenue for the next two years, 2012 and 2013, of about 5 percent,” said incoming Minn. Majority Leader, Sen. Amy Koch (R-Buffalo).

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Telly Mamayek Reports

The next budget update will come in February.  Plenty could change between now and then.  The budget gap grew about $500 million since an update in March.

Some lawmakers are already stressing that simple cuts will not be enough to solve the problem.

“It’s reducing government spending but it’s also reforming the way government does things,” said Koch, on The Michele Tafoya Show on WCCO radio.

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Michele Tafoya’s Interview

Future finances are still questionable.  Even after the massive deficit in 2011-2012, Commissioner of Management and Budget Steve Sviggum is predicting a continued stubborn gap between revenue and spending.  That gap could remain in the $2 to $3 billion range years from now.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

WCCO-TV’s Pat Kessler Reports

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