State deficit shrinks to $994M, down from $1.2B

Budget chief Tom Hanson says it’s a sign Minnesota is on “the long, slow road to recovery.”

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) âÄî Budget pressure on Minnesota lawmakers has eased slightly, with a projected deficit shrinking to $994 million. That estimate released by state officials Tuesday represents a $200 million drop from an economic forecast produced a few months ago. State budget chief Tom Hanson says it’s a sign Minnesota is on “the long, slow road to recovery.” The deficit is for the budget that runs through the middle of next year. Gov. Tim Pawlenty has proposed solving it mostly through spending cuts; legislators haven’t released their own plans yet. But the outlook deteriorates in the long term, with a deficit for the next budget period expected to swell to $5.8 billion. That projection for fiscal years 2012-13 had been $5.4 billion a few months ago.