Minnesota lawmakers find out tomorrow (Tues) what will likely be bad news when state officials release a special economic forecast prompted by the COVID-19 crisis.

The last budget forecast in late February, just before the coronavirus pandemic hit the U-S, predicted a one-and-a-half-billion-dollar state budget surplus — but Management and Budget Commissioner Myron Frans said he now “can’t imagine we’re not in a deficit situation.”

Around 600 thousand Minnesotans have applied for unemployment insurance — and beyond the economic implications for them, the impact on the state budget is substantial, with jobless benefits being paid out while income and sales tax collections shrink, and the state spends hundreds of millions of dollars on emergency COVID measures.

There are about two billion dollars in the “rainy day” budget reserve which was built up after the Great Recession, and will probably have to be drawn down now.