Michigan's recession-depleted budget, bailed out this year with $1.3 billion in cuts and federal stimulus money, will fall $2.1 billion short of projections next year, a new state report says.
Finance experts previously had estimated a $1.6 billion shortfall for the next budget year that starts Oct. 1. But tax receipts continue to fall as the economy worsens, pushing the state deeper into the hole.
These are staggering numbers.
The general fund, the state's main checking account, will drop 9.3 percent next year to $6.7 billion and the school aid pot will decline 5.1 percent to $10.3 billion, according to the Senate Fiscal Agency report.
State unemployment will be 14.2 percent this year and 16.9 percent next year, the report says. Vehicle sales will decline from 13.2 million last year to 9.3 million units this year and the rise slightly to 10.5 million next year.
The House and Senate fiscal people will put it altogether this Friday for us, and come to a number that we will base next year's budget on - and given how we don't exactly know how a GM and Chrysler bankruptcy will shake out in the long run, this is going to be just a best guess at this point. And so far, it's scary enough, thanks.
So, what so we cut now, Senator Bishop? Somehow, I don't think that privatizing prison food service is going to quite cover this bill. Better get those "reforms" on the table - and they better be good.
All of you. Serve up those ideas, any ideas, because we are going to need everyone working together to solve this one.