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State budget hole grows to $5.7 billion

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Gov. Jim Doyle warned in his State of the State address that the record deficit in the next state budget would keep growing and it has.

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Thursday, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau said there's now a $5.7 billion shortfall between state spending requests and expected revenues in the two-year budget that takes effect in July.

Bureau director Robert Lang said corporate tax collections are projected to be $322 million less than previously estimated.

The federal economic stimulus bill now moving through Congress could reduce the deficit. But officials say it won't all go away, and Doyle said Wisconsinites and their government should be ready to sacrifice.

The Democratic governor is scheduled to submit his proposed budget in less than two weeks.

Minority Republicans in the Legislature say Doyle is trying to prepare us for tax increases.

Also on Thursday, the Fiscal Bureau projected a $593 million deficit in the current budget that expires June 30. That's almost $0.25 billion more than previous estimates.

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