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Rhode Island faces deficit in next budget

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Rhode Island lawmakers will face more red ink when they return to the Statehouse next year to begin the process of crafting a state budget.

Budget officials initially projected a $130 million deficit for the budget year beginning July 1, but legislative fiscal officials said Wednesday that newer forecasts predict a smaller shortfall.

That's thanks in part to $47 million the state expects to have in surplus when the current fiscal year ends.

To rein in spending, Department of Administration Director Richard Licht (leech) says Gov. Lincoln Chafee's (CHAY'-fee's) administration has asked state agencies to identify ways to trim 7 percent of their budgets.

Chafee plans to submit his budget proposal in mid-January. The legislative session begins Jan. 1.

The House Finance Committee reviewed the budget projections at a meeting Wednesday.