CHICAGO - Minnesota faces a $4.6 billion deficit in the next biennium, down about $278 million from the last formal estimate in December, thanks to federal stimulus funds.

The latest state economic forecast projects a $1.2 billion drop in revenues and increased spending of $152 million over the November forecast, which is released in early December. An ending balance now expected in the current budget that runs through June 30 along with federal funds will help scale back the fiscal 2010-11 deficit.

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