The good news from Wednesday's Minnesota economic forecast is that the state will finish the current biennium about $1.3 billion extra in the state budget. That will allow the state to pay back a little more than half the $2.4 billion it owes to school districts from using funding shifts to balance the state budget.
The bad news - the state will be about $1.1 billion short in the next biennial budget. Legislators and Gov. Mark Dayton will be working on ways to balance that budget in the coming legislative session.
Even worse news - if the federal government can't come up with a deficit reduction plan and forestall the "fiscal cliff" that is coming on Jan.1, the economic fallout could cause the state's budget deficit to balloon even higher.
Governors across the nation - Republican and Democratic - are urging the president and GOP leaders to avert the fiscal cliff crisis, and especially to avert the crisis without shifting financial responsibilities onto the state. We would urge our state leaders to take the same approach to the budget deficit - solve it without shifting the burden onto school districts and local units of government.