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Smaller deficit doesn't bridge political fault line at Capitol

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Minnesota's new budget forecast brought the happy surprise of a much smaller deficit projection in the next biennium. The new figure of $627 million is more than 40 percent smaller than the previous number of $1.1 billion.

But while both sides of the political aisle appreciate the red ink reduction, their philosophical differences about the next budget are largely unchanged. Gov. Mark Dayton says he will revise his budget proposal but there will be no drastic changes.

Republican leaders say the deficit reduction is the product of their policies limiting spending and taxes during the past two years, when the GOP controlled the Legislature. They say that bolsters their opposition to Dayton's budget, which would raise state revenue by $2 billion by expanding the sales tax and raising income taxes on high earners.

Dayton cheered the news that the state's budget pressures are lessened, but insists Minnesota needs to invest more in its long-term success, especially when it comes to education.

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