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Gov. Tim Pawlenty says the $1.2 billion deficit reported Wednesday in the current two-year state budget can be solved. He said he wants to work on it with lawmakers, but prefers to plug the gap with budget cuts. Photo by Don Davis, St. Paul Capitol Bureau.

UPDATED: Current state budget deficit grows

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By Don Davis

St. Paul Capitol Bureau

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's state budget will be $1.2 billion in deficit if lawmakers and Gov. Tim Pawlenty don't take action, state leaders learned Wednesday.

And the state faces a $5.4 billion deficit in 2012 and 2013.

The current budget deficit is 3.7 percent of the state budget.

State Finance Commissioner Tom Hanson blamed a weak economy and said the recovery will be long.

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