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Council on Revenues calls special session to review forecast

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The state Council on Revenues plans to return in special session next week to revisit its general fund forecast.

The Council issued its quarterly forecast on March 10, the same day as the 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck Japan, resulting in massive tsunami and the current nuclear crisis in the state’s core visitor market.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie asked the Council to revisit its forecast in light of the potential impact the tsunami could have on Hawaii tourism.

In its last forecast, the Council lowered its revenue projection after economists determined the economy would not recover quickly enough in the remaining months of the fiscal year to reach its December projection of 3 percent revenue growth. The recalculation — to 0.5 percent growth, down from 3 percent — would boost the state’s projected budget deficit to nearly $1 billion.

The Council sets the revenue base used by state lawmakers in crafting the state’s two-year budget. The House has passed its version of the budget to the Senate, which now must look for ways to make up the burgeoning deficit.

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