ST. PAUL, Minn. - For eight of the past 11 years, deficits riddled Minnesota's budget and lawmakers responded with spending cuts, fee hikes, drawn-down reserves and other Scotch-tape solutions that momentarily balanced the books.
A projected $1.1 billion shortfall is the official problem this year, but the figure swells to more than twice that once the IOUs and fancy accounting of the past are considered. The Legislature isn't required to repair the past fixes, and probably won't. But Democrats now in charge of the full state government say they want to craft a more durable solution this time - and avoid the temptation to paper over the problem.
The process begins Tuesday when Gov. Mark Dayton unveils his two-year budget proposal.
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