ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota's budget picture sharpens Wednesday with a new economic forecast, but there's a big caveat.
The forecast from state finance officials may be outdated by the end of the month, depending on what happens in Washington.
Federal negotiations over a long-term deficit fix will determine whether across-the-board tax increases and automatic spending cuts kick in at the start of 2013.
Failure to reach a deal would send the nation over the so-called fiscal cliff and could prompt a recession.
Gov. Mark Dayton and lawmakers use the forecast as the basis for the next two-year state budget. The last forecast anticipated a $1.1 billion gap starting in mid-2013.
The Democratic governor faces a Jan. 22 deadline to propose a budget to the Legislature. Democrats will take over both chambers Jan. 8.
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