Michigan hears some bleak projections

May 18, 2010 at 1:52 PM

LANSING, Mich., May 18 (UPI) -- Michigan's Senate Fiscal Agency, a bipartisan state office, said the state's 13 percent budget imbalance would grow to 19 percent by the 2014.

At an annual summit of the state's business leaders, agency director Gary Olson said Michigan's budget deficit would be 13 percent in the 2012 budget year and rise to 17 percent in the 2013 budget year, The Detroit News reported Tuesday.

"What is clear to me is the current budget is not sustainable. There must be massive changes to the revenue side of the equation and spending side as well," Olson said.

Several leaders concluded that the political will to raise taxes or cut spending was required to steer the state's finances toward a more sustainable path, the News said.

"There seems to be no appetite to raise revenues or to cut the budget, either. That's the problem," said Mitchell Bean, director of the House Fiscal Agency.

Tax revenues are expected to decline due to high unemployment, a situation that also creates a greater demand for services.

"There will be no rapid recovery from an 18 percent employment decline. It will be well after 2023 before we fully recover all those lost jobs," said Jeff Guilfoyle, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

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