ST. PAUL (AP) - Minnesota's projected budget surplus has dropped to $900 million.

State budget officials on Friday released their latest look at how much money lawmakers will have to spend this year. That's down from the $1.2 billion projection made in December.

The final number sets the stage for the Legislature's return in early March. A smaller sum may complicate lawmakers' plans to tap into the money for tax cuts, transportation funding and other spending plans.

Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders had expected the excess pot of money to grow after months of higher tax collections, despite signs of looming economic trouble in the next four years. Budget officials say the state's finances are still stable.

Dayton and others were expected to address the latest estimate later Friday.