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Budget deficit grows by up to $1.5b max. Max deficit: $2.3b.

Florida's Revenue Estimating conference is about to kick off and the numbers look expectedly bleak: lower-than-expected tax collections of between $1.5 billion (according to the Legislature's analysts) and $1.2b (according to the governor's).

The different sides (including the tax department which has noncomparable numbers) will now decide what number is right.

Those shortfall numbers are just for the current budget year, which already has a deficit of about $800m. Max deficit: $2.3billion - precipitating the need for a special session.

Add in Gov. Charlie Crist's agency holdbacks, and the deficit before the Friday estimate could be about $500m to $1b. Add those numbers to the lower-than-expected revenues predicted today, and this year's total deficit could be about $1.3b to $2b. Even if Crist can sweep $700m from trust funds, the deficit would range between $600m to $1.3b.

Full story here