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Cincinnati's Projected Budget Deficit Is Growing

city hall
Bill Rinehart

Cincinnati's general fund budget deficit for the next fiscal year is getting worse.  

Budget Director Chris Bigham told council members Monday the shortfall is now estimated at between $29 and $34 million. In January, that deficit was slightly more than $23 million.
"That is a larger gap than we thought," Bigham said. "We do have a plan, and we're continuing to work through that plan to close that gap and to present a structurally balanced budget."

Bigham said one of the big drivers of the shortfall is lower-than-projected income tax collections for the current fiscal year.  

That changes the revenue forecast for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.

"When we work to develop the forecast for the next fiscal year, a major component of that is existing trend, it's 'how are we doing?'" Bigham said. "And if we're behind in the current year, it means that the forecast may in fact, and will in fact, go down based on what we thought from January."

The University of Cincinnati's Economics Center is working to finalize the income tax forecast for the new fiscal year.

Acting City Manager Patrick Duhaney is expected to send his spending plan to Mayor John Cranley on May 24. The mayor will review it and then send it to council.

City council is tentatively set to hold public hearing on the budget June 11, 12 and 13.

Right now, council is scheduled to formally approve the city budget on June 27. It must be approved by June 30.