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Editorial: It is time to get to work on budget

Minnesota's economy has started to rebound as is evidenced by some positive economic indicators, but the state still faces a major budget shortfall.

The major question is how fast the economy is going to recover -- slowly or quickly.

According to a state report this week, unemployment dropped slightly in January. Corporate income taxes generated $181 million more than previously forecast. However, individual income taxes remain about $874 million less than expected. National economic trends are showing positive indications as well.

However, the state of Minnesota still faces a $944 million shortfall for the current budget and the best-case scenario of a $2.89 billion deficit for the 2011-12 budget.

Thus, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the Legislature have a tough job ahead.

The time has come for both to stop playing politics and get the business of the state done.

The Pawlenty administration has often used accounting delays and/or shifts in its budget balancing moves. These decision often just pushed the deficit problem down the road, which now will leave a larger problem for the next governor.

The Senate's DFL majority has continued to battle Pawlenty on various issues, sometimes winning and other times just being outmaneuvered. The Senate leadership has also not wanted to make the tough decisions necessary, which in turns has just kicked the deficit challenge down the road.

Minnesota's budget deficit can no longer be solved with solutions that just push decisions down the road. It will take tough and creative decisions on the part of both sides.

It is time for Pawlenty and the Legislature's leadership to get to work and get the state's business done.