Minnesota budget forecasts since 2001

AP News
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Posted: Dec 02, 2009 11:44 AM

_February 2001. Minnesota finance officials note slowdown in national economy but predict $1.54 billion surplus. Last time they'll see positive numbers for four years.

_November 2001. Post-Sept. 11 recession hits hard, with projected $1.95 billion deficit.

_February 2002. Picture worsens, with projected $3.21 billion shortfall.

_November 2002. Deficit balloons to $4.56 billion, biggest in state history.

_February 2003. Forecast little changed; Gov. Tim Pawlenty prepares budget featuring cuts, shifts and fees _ but no new taxes.

_November 2003. Deficit projections shrink to $185 million after Legislature and Pawlenty cut most deeply into health and social services programs.

_February 2004. Lower-than-expected state spending cuts shortfall to $160 million.

_November 2004. Deficit expands to $700 million as health care costs rise.

_February 2005. Increased tax collections shrink deficit to $466 million. Arguments over where to cut lead to state's first-ever partial government shutdown in July.

_November 2005. Back in black, finance officials anticipate $701 million surplus _ all of it needed to pay back schools for accounting shift during deficit years.

_February 2006. Surplus trend continues, with positive balance of $181 million. More than half goes to pay back school aid accounting shift.

_November 2006. Surplus grows to $2.17 billion.

_February 2007. Surplus slightly smaller at $2.16 billion.

_November 2007. Red ink reappears thanks to rising energy prices, housing slump and other economic worries; $373 million deficit projected by June 2009.

_February 2008. Worsening economy widens deficit to $935 million, deepest since 2003.

_December 2008. Deepening recession morphs deficit to $5.2 billion over 2- 1/2 years, the state's biggest in sheer dollars. Pawlenty trims $426 million on his own.

_March 2009. Deficit seen at $6.4 billion, trimmed to $4.57 billion by federal stimulus dollars. Stalemate over taxes leads Pawlenty to cut or delay $2.7 billion using obscure executive power, now being challenged in court.

_December 2009. Deficit climbs back to $1.2 billion, with an even worse picture for the following budget cycle: A $5.4 billion shortfall.