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Budget blues

The City of St. Paul is facing a projected $15.8 million budget shortfall for 2008. Solving the fiscal puzzle will not be easy. For instance it would require a 25 percent increase in property taxes to close the gap in the city's general fund. What's more roughly two thirds of that money is slated to pay for police and fire services--not an area that politicians are usually eager to cut.

City finance director Matt Smith lays out the grim news in a nifty new video (complete with really strained metaphor about a swimmer being attacked by LGA cuts!) posted on the city's web site.

Municipal finance geeks can also try their hand at solving the city's fiscal woes by utilizing the city's "Budget Cruncher." The gizmo is making an encore peformance after last year's budgetary difficulties. Personally I'm waiting for the Wii version.