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State tax revenue in January beat expectations by $140 million

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Minnesota took in $140 million more in tax revenue last month than state budget officials had projected.

The biggest increase came in individual income tax payments. Minnesota Management and Budget theorizes some residents may have opted to make tax payments sooner rather than later, to avoid a possible income tax hike.

A clearer picture of Minnesota's finances will emerge by the end of the month, when a new economic forecast is due. The most recent such report put the gap between state revenue and expenditures in the next biennium at $1.1 billion.

Gov. Mark Dayton says his budget proposal would end a cycle of deficits and leave the state with a surplus in two years. He underscored that point during his State of the State address last week.

Meanwhile, MPR reports some lawmakers feel Dayton's budget proposals should have been translated into legislative bills by now. The House Speaker says preparing them is complicated work and they'll arrive at the Capitol soon.

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Revenue from Minnesota taxes came in more than two percent ahead of expectations in the fiscal year that ended June 30th. A top budget official says the extra $336 million is good news, but doesn't really clear up the clouds on the economic horizon. The state still faces a $1 billion shortfall in the two-year budget that starts next summer. And forecasters are getting less optimistic about the prospects for growth.

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