Tomorrow the state will release its February and March revenue collection figures. But if you’re curious to know how the scale of Minnesota’s deficit problem compares with other states around the country, there’s a must-read package in today’s Wall Street Journal to check out in the meantime. It offers graphic proof that there are states with worse fiscal woes than Minnesota–but not many.
In Leslie Eaton’s report, Minnesota is mentioned as one of 12 states where tax increases have already been passed or the Legislature is looking to do so.
But the real eye-opener is the sortable table of state deficit data. For 2010, the first half of the biennial cycle currently being budgeted at the Capitol, Minnesota’s $3.2 billion hole ranks an impressive-in-all-the-wrong-ways ninth in the nation in total dollars. As a percentage of the previous year’s general fund spending, the state fares only a little better at 11th.
It’s more proof, if you needed it, that there is really no modern precedent for the budget crisis that the economic collapse has laid at the doorstep of the states. Not 2003, not 1981, not anytime since the Great Depression. And Minnesota–which in the past generation has grown accustomed to doing better than the national economy, not worse–is among the hardest-hit of all.
I’ve chopped up and highlighted some of the Journal data below.