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Mon May 17, 2010
MI's budget woes may not be as bad as feared
By Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network
LANSING, MI –
The state's budget troubles may not be quite as large as they appeared to be five months ago. State government economists say they're seeing the first glimmers of a recovery.
In January, the deficit for the coming fiscal year was pegged at about one and a half-billion dollars. Job losses had stabilized but the unemployment rate was still very high and tax revenues were on the decline.
Gary Olsen is the director of the state Senate Fiscal Agency. He says the state is still facing big budget troubles. But he says the state should begin a modest recovery next year, and the revenue picture may not be quite so bad.
"I think the economy is looking better than we forecast in January, and I think in general most revenues are going to look a little better than we had in January," he explains.
Olsen will meet with other state government economists at the end of this week to come up with a new prediction of how much the state will collect in taxes. State lawmakers will use that number as they finalize a budget for the coming fiscal year.