By Rick Karlin
Lawmakers on Monday got a jump on an annual budget ritual: the Consensus Forecasting Conference, in which both Democrats and Republicans bring in experts to try and reach a consensus on how rosy — or in this case, gloomy — the coming budget-building process will be.
Next year's budget gap, the meeting revealed, could easily hit $14 billion as state coffers continue to dry up due to Wall Street's implosion and the national recession.
"It's with a deep sense of foreboding that the Senate approaches what's been characterized as a doomsday budget," said Sen. Carl Kruger, D-Brooklyn, who heads the Senate finance committee.
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