CHICAGO - As lawmakers around the Midwest return to work in coming days, Michigan finds itself sorely unprepared to deal with the economic crisis because of ongoing structural budget imbalances and the lack of reserves, according to a new report.

"While Michigan's structural budget problems have been apparent for some time ... policymakers have been reticent to take the necessary steps to bring the two sides of the budget into alignment," according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonprofit government research organization. "Failure to do so in advance of the current economic recession makes the job of addressing the cyclical budget obstacles all the more difficult."

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