Minnesota’s projected budget deficit has shrunk to $627-million, a 40% reduction from the last estimate. Newly-elected Local State Representative Clark Johnson says that the new budget forecast is good news, but there’s still work to be done. He says “it doesn’t mask the reality that our long history of deficits goes on. And we still owe our schools more than $800-million. Johnson says he is going to do his best to “end this cycle of deficits and put middle class first for a stronger Minnesota economy, invest in education and finally balance our budget without gimmicks.” The updated economic forecast released Thursday by state finance officials sets the tone for a legislative debate over a two-year budget. The last forecast, which was released in December, showed a $1.1-billion deficit. Governor Dayton structured his proposed budget around that projected deficit, so he will now release a supplemental budget sometime this month to account for the changed projection. The smaller deficit could prompt Dayton to scale back his proposed tax increases. Minnesota legislators have delayed spending too much time on the budget process until receiving this latest economic forecast.