DENVER (AP) - Colorado's projected budget deficit for the coming fiscal year has grown to close to $700 million, according to the governor's latest economic forecast.
Lawmakers use the quarterly forecast to help fashion a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. By law, they must produce a balanced budget during the Legislative session that ends in May.
The expected deficit was $500 million when Gov. John Hickenlooper released his proposed $28.5 billion budget last fall.
Friday's forecast says state revenues will increase as Colorado's economy strengthens.
But constitutionally-mandated tax rebates, transportation spending and other measures mean there is a $697 million gap in the general fund, which is the state's treasury.