2008: Projected State Budget Deficit: $4.5-$6B
How bad is Minnesota's budget deficit? Mega-bad.
STAR TRIBUNE by Patricia Lopez, December 4, 2008
Today's two-year projection could be as high as $6B; "every spending program, every tax has to be on the table. This will require a major reprioritization of programs."
Minnesota is headed toward a historic budget deficit that could rock state government – and the people who depend on it – down to its core. State budget officials will release a two-year economic projection today that is expected to show Minnesota facing a deficit of anywhere from $4.5 billion to as much as $6 billion. At the upper end, the red ink would equal nearly 17% of the state's total budget.
"This is without question going to be the worst deficit in modern history," said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Dick Cohen, DFL-St. Paul. "We're heading into a terrible storm, and we have nothing left to face it with."
Governor Tim Pawlenty said that immediate shortfall will be "noteworthy" but will be dwarfed in size and scope by the two-year deficit projection. … That could mean swift cuts in health care and social services, an area Pawlenty has repeatedly said is spiraling out of control. Bakk agrees. Health and Human Services went up 14% in the last budget, he said. "That spending somehow has to get under control. Health care is going to bankrupt this state."