State lawmakers are preparing for a difficult budget year, but it unclear at this stage just how difficult it will be. Economists have painted a bleak picture for lawmakers who have been meeting at the State Capitol in Jefferson City, taking a preliminary view of next year’s budget even as they worry about the current one. Economists appearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee predict the economy might turn around next year after taking a nosedive following the September 11th terrorist attacks. Still Committee Chairman John Russell sees a big job ahead as legislators prop up a sagging budget this year.