Budget Future Dark

For 28 years, Jim Mulder has looked into his crystal ball and predicted how legislators and the governor will solve budget problems.

Now, the Association of Minnesota Counties’ executive director said, that crystal ball is dark. Mulder and other veteran budget-watchers are stumped as lawmakers prepare for the 2009 legislative session that begins at noon Jan. 6.

No one knows how to fix a record state budget deficit that most predict will top $6 billion for a two-year budget lawmakers and the governor must write in the first half of 2009.

Usually as a new legislative session approaches, lawmakers are full of ideas for how to solve problems facing the state and they rattle off a list of other bills they will push. However, when the start of the 2009 legislative session arrives, there will be no answers to the budget question, a question so dominant that few other issues even are being discussed.

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