More good news for Minnesotans in a recession.
State budget officials today projected a $4.8 billion deficit in the next two years, which equals nearly 14 percent of the whole budget, according to the Star Tribune.
That's on top of a $426 million shortfall for the current budget year. That brings our total debt to $5.2 billion. That doesn't include inflation. Yikes.
The hard times will force hard decisions, with elected officials likely to consider severe cuts in health, education or social services or raising taxes at a time in a recession. The deficit also will focus renewed concern about the wisdom of recently dedicating a sales tax increase to the environment and arts. Unlike the federal government, the state is constitutionally required to balance its budget. The governor has broad discretion in dealing with a budget deficit and Pawlenty has warned that he plans to take immediate action to stanch the flow of revenues out the door even as the deficits pile up.Take advantage of free or reduced state services now before they disappear. Maybe our residents will finally realize how important paying taxes is when all of those things they took for granted are no longer there. Everyone has to learn the hard way. Bring on the complainers.