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New projections show Kansas' deficit soaring to $510 million

Kansas' budget deficit grew to $510 million Friday after newly released revenue projections showed the recession's effects on state finances will linger long into next year.

The new revenue estimates predict a sluggish economic recovery, with individual and corporate tax receipts continuing to lag. The projections create more hard decisions for lawmakers struggling to balance the budget amid unprecedented revenue declines.

Previously, the deficit for the next fiscal year was pegged at $450 million.

"This estimate confirms what we have predicted since the start of the year – despite having already cut more than a billion dollars in state spending, Kansas still faces a $510 million budget shortfall," said Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat.

Lawmakers have proposed different solutions, from raising tobacco, alcohol and sales taxes to cutting school funding and instituting state employee furloughs. But so far, the Legislature has struggled to find consensus, instead putting off the hard votes until a brief wrap-up session begins April 28.

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