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Budget Forecast Improves, Longterm Outlook Far From Rosy

EDR Coordinator Amy Baker describing the changes in the conference's newest estimates.
Nick Evans

State economists are revising their fiscal projections upward, but the extra dollars likely won’t be enough to stave off deep budget cuts when lawmakers start balancing the books. 

The outlook last September was grim—lawmakers would only have only about $7 million if they continued funding current projects, and the state would be in the red by next year.  Office of Economic and Demographic Research Coordinator Amy Baker explains the picture looks a little bit better now. 

“After we work through it we’re going to be about $107, $108 [million] for this year and then about less than 10 million for next year,” Baker says.

That’s on top of about $140 million dollars in increases from December.  But nearly all of that money is non-recurring—a bonus rather than a raise.  Even with the modest improvement the state likely faces budget shortfalls in coming years, and the House is zealously pushing for spending cuts.