Waiting for the bad news

I’ll be live blogging the news conference today at 11 during which the size of the state’s budget deficit will be made clear. Later, Gov. Pawlenty will hold his own news conference. A Webcast of the events will be available on the Minnesota Public Radio Web site.

Tom Stinson, the state economist, described Minnesota’s economy this way last month:

The National Bureau of Economic Research – the group that actually calls whether the U.S. is in a recession — says what they look for is an economic slump that is broad-based and of some significant duration. And what we’ve seen over the last six months in employment in Minnesota certainly qualifies.”

That earned him a rhetorical smackdown from the governor:

“Tom Stinson tends to be a bit on the pessimistic side of things, to put it charitably…I don’t think it’s helpful – unless it’s clearly justified by the data – for people to get overly pessimistic or overly scare people, either.”

Nonetheless, the smart money at the Capitol says the deficit could approach $1 billion, and even some top-ranking DFLers are saying the budget will have to be cut. So let’s take another whack at the “shared sacrifice game” while we’re waiting for the sessions to start:

If you were to give up something in the state budget from which you derive a benefit, what would it be?

I usually don’t get many responses when I ask the question.