A pessimistic Gov. Rendell, who previously predicted a $1.6 billion deficit in the current state budget, said yesterday that he expected the shortfall to be about $100 million deeper.
And though details of President-elect Barack Obama's proposed stimulus plan for the states are not expected for another week, Rendell said it simply would not do for the states to receive a significantly lesser bailout than the one ranging from $850 billion to $1 trillion for the nation's financial and other troubled institutions.
"That would be a terrible message for Washington to send," he said.
Rendell, who is scheduled to present his 2009 budget to the legislature Feb. 2, said he likely would announce steps in coming weeks to deal with Pennsylvania's growing fiscal crisis.
He stopped short of revelations, but said he expected cuts in virtually every state program and the elimination of some programs.
"There may be some parts of the budget that grow," he said, "but that will be limited and only in programs that result in stimulating the economy."
"The problem is very daunting," Rendell told reporters at a news conference at the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue. "Virtually every department will feel the pinch.
"It's tough not to be scared," he said, "But we're not going to hide from this recession."