On Tuesday, Amy Baker from the Office of Economic and Demographic Research gave her forecast to the Senate Budget Committee. The news was grim.
Florida is facing a budget shortfall of $2.6 billion to its critical needs.
State governments are required by law to produce balanced budgets so new cuts will have to be made and/or new source of revenue will have to be employed. Many fear that the current legislature has no stomach for either. Next year is an election year and there is a vast leadership vacuum.
Remember folks- the shortfall is just counting “critical needs” of the state- public safety, health, and education. Anything not considered critical has no money either. This is the same boat we were sitting in last year when the Federal government came along and saved the day with a nice stimulus package. Even with the stimulus package and our state’s trust funds depleted (last session), we still come up $2.6 Billion short.
Read the full story in the St. Pete Times:
The numbers are the latest sobering reminder that the federal stimulus package didn’t so much as stimulate Florida’s economy as it did bail out the state budget — albeit temporarily.
Amy Baker, head of the legislature’s Office of Economic & Demographic Research, told the Senate’s budget committee Tuesday that the state’s sales tax-fueled budget of $66.5 billion won’t get a huge shot in the arm even in the holiday season.
“Christmas is probably going to be rough,” said Baker, who presented the financial numbers to the committee. “I don’t think you’re going to see a Christmas like we normally see.”