Unemployment expected to hit 12 percent; House Dems dis GOP budget-cutting methodby Dara Kam | January 21st, 2010
First, the good news: Florida’s economic woes have hit bottom, the legislature’s chief economist Amy Baker told the Senate yesterday.
Now, the bad news: The state’s unemployment rate is expected to climb to 12 percent as early as Friday when the most recent job numbers are released, Baker said.
And more bad news for lawmakers as they struggle to craft a budget with up to $3.3 billion – about 4 percent – less than they had for this year’s $66.5 billion spending plan.
Although the national recession is over, Florida’s not going to show an economic recovery for at least another year, Baker and University of Florida economist David Denslow told the Ways and Means Committee, which about 30 of the 40-member chamber attended after Senate President Jeff Atwater asked them to sit in.
“We think we’ve hit bottom and we’re going to hover around the bottom for a wile before we start picking up,” Baker said.
The economy will start picking up next spring, she said, but even with normal growth rates, the recovery is coming off a very low base level so the turn-around will be very slow.
It will be three years “before you’re going to be out of the hole on a lot of measures,” Baker said.
Read the story here.
On the other side of the fourth floor rotunda, House Democrats wrote a letter to GOP leaders saying they don’t like their approach in determining what the state’s critical needs are.
They want to look not only at expenditures but at revenues as well. (Translation: higher taxes?)
But that’s not likely to happen on the Senate side.
Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, told his members yesterday he “won’t extract another dollar” from Floridians.