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Spending cuts, shutdown lower deficit

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. government started the first month of the 2014 budget year with a smaller budget deficit, signaling further improvement in the nation’s finances at a time when lawmakers are wrestling to reach a deal to keep the government open past January.

The Treasury Department said Wednesday that the deficit in October was $91.6 billion. That’s 24 percent lower than the $120 billion imbalance recorded in October 2012. The deficit is the gap between the government’s tax revenue and spending.

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