Worst case: Michigan deficit could reach $1.3B

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (AP)

Michigan likely is looking at a budget shortfall this year that could reach $1.3 billion.

Legislative leaders and Gov. Jennifer Granholm earlier pegged the deficit at $785 million.

But Granholm spokeswoman Liz Boyd said Wednesday that, in a worst-case scenario, the shortfall could climb to $1.3 billion.

That's because annual and quarterly state income tax payments paid this month are down. The revenue picture will be clearer after Thursday.

That's the deadline for businesses to send in their 2008 Michigan Business Tax payments.

The governor and lawmakers could fill some of the hole with federal stimulus payments, but hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts also may be needed because the federal money won't be enough to make up for the shrinking revenues.