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Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Budget deficits

The November state budget forecast was released today, showing a $700 million deficit. Actually, it's a $1.4 billion deficit, if you count inflation, which I'm gonna do after looking outside at gas prices and shopping at the grocery store earlier this week. This deficit is lower than the really bad one of a couple years ago, but since the Republicans have already used up every accounting trick and gimmick to reduce those deficits, there are only two ways out this time around: cut services like education and nursing homes even more, or raise taxes. That's it.

Governor Pawlenty is going to be up a creek without a paddle on this one. He has reiterated his "no new taxes" pledge, setting his feet in concrete. He has also quietly pulled his plan to expand gambling, sensing that his anti-Indian stance wasn't really resonating with the voters (did those huge Republican losses a few weeks ago have anything to do with that?). Thus, his budget will have to cut schools and Grandma's care, again something that the voters didn't respond too well to previously.

We're not going to grow our way out of this deficit, and it isn't going to disappear between now and the next forecast in February. If Pawlenty puts forward a budget that only cuts, and he has all but said that he would, people are going to howl.

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