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Editorial: The state's budget deficit is one big challenge

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This state is facing the mother of all deficits -- at least by Minnesota standards.

The budget deficit is projected to total nearly $6 billion. That is a very big number.

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How big? Well, here are few perspectives from our state capitol bureau story Wednesday.

- The state could cut 40 percent of its general education funding in order to balance the budget and eliminate the projected deficit.

- The state could eliminate all state and university education spending and the state budget deficit would still be sizable.

- The state could expand the current sales tax to food, medicine and clothing, which would only cut the budget deficit by half.

- The state could eliminate all public spending for public safety, environment, economic development, agriculture and veterans spending and the deficit remains.

These are just four examples of the scope of a $6 billion budget deficit. There is no quick fix for Minnesota's deficit.

Frankly, there will be no one-sided solution either, such as no-new taxes or a more taxes only.

Minnesotans cannot have their cake and eat it too. Everyone wants cuts in state spending, except for their favorite program.

There will be significant cuts in state spending. That is reality.

There will be additional tax revenue collected. That is reality.

Minnesota has been kicking this budget deficit down the road for eight years. That fiscal irresponsibility has now come home to roost.

It is one big deficit. Finding a solution will not be pretty.

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