CHICAGO - Illinois faces a record $9 billion budget deficit - a figure that poses a "formidable and unprecedented challenge" as new Gov. Pat Quinn seeks to craft a balanced spending plan for the next fiscal year, state Comptroller Dan Hynes warned in a special report released yesterday.

The news startled some as the figure is nearly double the $5 billion number lawmakers had placed the deficit at over the last week. Just a couple weeks ago, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's office stood by its estimate of a combined deficit in the current fiscal year that ends June 30 and the next of $2.5 billion.

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