The State's Sea of Red Ink Balloons

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An economist says the state government's budget deficit will mushroom to just under a billion dollars, which may force more cuts in local and state government services.

Tom Clay from the Michigan Citizens Research Council says an additional $500 to $600 million will be needed to meet the demands of an increasing Medicaid caseload. In addition, he predicts more money will be needed for an increase in the prison population. He also believes the state has run out of book keeping gimmicks, which means another $95 million will be needed to replace those so-called one time fixes.

Since no one in Lansing wants to increase taxes to pay for the increased costs, the governor and lawmakers are left with only one other option, to make another round of cuts in state services.