ST. PAUL – State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Watonwan County) found a glimmer of hope in the latest state budget forecast, but an immense budget deficit problem – for this year and future years – remains to be solved.
“The good news is that our projections stopped going backwards, and the current budget deficit is not quite as bad as we expected,” Torkelson said. “The bad news is projections show another huge budget deficit for our next budget cycle, as income tax collections continue to decline thanks to high unemployment rates.”
State economists say the current budget deficit now totals $994 million, down from a November projection of $1.2 billion. But the Fiscal Year 2012-13 budget deficit projection looks much worse, as Minnesota could face a shortfall nearing $5.8 billion.
Torkelson noted that while Minnesota expects to collect $2.9 billion in the latest analysis, it also expects to spend $7.6 billion over the same period.
“There’s no doubt state government spending is growing at an unsustainable rate,” Torkelson said. “We have to restrain spending increases to a level taxpayers can afford, and it’s time we get the job done.”