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The estimated outlook for the state budget over the next two years is more optimistic than it was back in May.
But revenues for Michigan’s Fiscal Year 2020 are still down $926 million and they’ve dropped $2.47 billion for FY 2021, according to economists. The news comes as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and GOP legislative leaders are primed to hash out a new budget before the Oct. 1 beginning of the 2021 fiscal year against the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and a presidential election.
State budget experts met Monday afternoon for a rare August Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference (CREC), where top officials from the Treasury Department and the nonpartisan House and Senate fiscal agencies agree to economic and revenue forecasts. CRECs are typically only held in January and May, but leaders felt that because of the economic downturn another summer conference was necessary.
Chris Harkins, director of the Senate Fiscal Agency, said the estimates from the latest conference leave him “cautiously optimistic.”