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It’s official: Florida faces $2 billion budget hole

by John Kennedy | October 20th, 2011

Florida’s budget hole for next year was officially put at $2 billion Thursday — and the revised forecast from state economists also put it in the red through 2015.

The shortfalls reverse what had been an optimistic forecast delivered to lawmakersonly last month — by the same analysts. But that was before the¬†European debt crisis deepened and sent shockwaves through consumer confidence across the nation, including the Sunshine State.

Tax collections “hit a wall,” in mid-summer, said Amy Baker, head of the Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research.

Baker and other analysts told the Senate Budget Committee they have downgraded earlier state revenue forecasts by $600 million for the current year and almost $1 billion for next year. Rising program costs — especially in public schools and Medicaid — also must be layered-in, resulting in what she said would be a $2 billion shortfall facing lawmakers when they begin crafting the 2012-13 budget in January.

The Senate Budget Committee took the bad news in stride Thursday. But Chairman J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, said he also feared that if the economy stumbled further, tax collections wouldfall even further off projections.

“We could have more challenging numbers,” Alexander conceded, adding, “or they could be better.”

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13 Responses to “It’s official: Florida faces $2 billion budget hole”

  1. Unbelievable Says:

    Let me get this straight. State budget analysts missed their forecast by 600 million this year and 1 billion for next year. We not only need to look at our budget but the analyst’s putting it together. Glad these people aren’t overseeing my finances.

  2. WaitAMinute Says:

    Hey Rick, I thought all the layoffs and raiding of the State Pension fund, and making all those people take a 3% paycut (yes that is what is was) last year was going to solve all these problems while you brought 700,000 jobs to Florida??? What a fraud.

    That is what you get for listening to all those tea baggers. It amazes me that people will put up with higher prices at the gas pumps, grocery stores, public utilities, but can’t cough up an additional $100 bucks a year in taxes to help save these jobs. These are your neighbors, friends, and more important…customers!!! Fewer customers mean more businesses closing.

    The Legislature says they are going to half to make “tough” decisions…tough for who??? Where are your cuts? What budget sacrifices are you making??? What a bunch of hypocrites.

  3. melody Says:

    Let’s put Gov. Scott to work making money for our state! According to USA Amb. Marc Ginsberg our Florida governor’s experience building and running hospitals could be very profitable now that Libya needs so much rebuilding of hospitals and Libya has so much wealth none of this will cost USA taxes! This Ginsberg claims USA private construction with Libya government wealth funding to rebuild the social services and infrastructure of that foreign nation can employ plenty of USA construction workers! Imagine how much Florida can make if we give 100% Homestead Exemptions to USA construction workers that take those Libya wealth supported jobs rebuilding the social service infrastructures in Libya! All those construction salary funds sent back to their families in Florida and spent on living will solve this budget hole right?

  4. AntiTallahassee Says:

    Don’t worry, slick Rick and his Repugnant allies will give tax breaks to the 2% of corporations that actually pay any state taxes. Then he will cut education and create more dumb a$$es to work in the no benefit part-time economy. He will also cut services to the weakest and poorest in order to hand out more corporate welfare to the wealthy and well connected. The “For Sale” sign is up on the Capitol.

  5. melody Says:

    Maybe Gov. Scott will turn Florida into one of candidate Cain’s “opportunity zones” with no minimum wage and no union memberships allowed! (Is that why Cain won the Florida republican straw poll?) Or Gov. Scott could just send Florida prisoners (that he has doing what used to be jobs for law abiding citizens) to “war zones” like Libya, Iraq, etc. to rebuild the infrastructures and social services for those oil wealthy governments to raise some funds for Florida like Amb. Marc Ginsberg says is financial opportunity for USA corporations. That off shore contracting use of Florida prisoners could certainly be “low bid” even with such unemployment rates of 40% for young men in places such as Libya don’t you think! Gov. Scott has to be creative to fill the budget holes all those corporate tax breaks are making what with that 100% Homestead Exemption Florida voters approved for military residents!

  6. melody Says:

    What sort of tax revenue impact is there from seasonal Visa workers being used by “hospitality industry” and agricultural use employees whose wages are not fully focused on input to our local communities? Our local utilities have seasonal impacts just as many other businesses yet those must operate with year round employees who are spending their wages and salaries almost completely (except for foreign import products) here in our state!

  7. Taxes Says:

    Public employees should take a 20% pay Cut. The pension system is abused and ill-structure. It is disperately in need of change! Look to Rhode Island.

  8. melody Says:

    Wealthy and corporations should GET a 20% tax HIKE! Our Florida infrastructure and social services, including those of public safety, are abused and ill-structured! The tax system of Florida is desperately in need of change to get more funding for education! Rhode Island is physically about the size of Palm Beach County, Florida and not nearly as culturally or financially diverse as the entire state of Florida! How many languages do the public employees in Rhode Island need to deal with from day to day? What exactly are the evacuation plans and time tables for hurricanes to keep Rhode Island citizens safe? So what do you want we in PBC, FL to look at in Rhode Island?

  9. RealAngst Says:

    I have an idea how to close this hole. Since our distinguished Governor stole BILLIONS from taxpayers while in the “private sector” and used MILLIONS to get elected to a job that he doesnt take a salary for, how about we just have him pay back the 20 BILLION or more that he STOLE in the first place. See! Simple. Easy peasy nice and easy!

  10. RealAngst Says:

    Taxes…are you insane? You mean the people who have not had a raise in 7 years? Those people? Take 20% away from them? You must think we are tax exempt or something because we work for the government.

  11. RealAngst Says:

    Wait a Minute…No kidding! Hey, did you notice that those same politicians who keep voting pay cuts and pension benefits cuts dont include THEMSELVES in the group? VOTE THEM ALLLLLLLL OUT! LYING BASTIDS!!!!!

  12. DrDeath Says:

    Please, lets just concentrate on what matters! Anti gay amendments, anti voting agenda’s, anti abortion agenda’s,anti-union agenda’s,and more hate laws for those less fortunate and have no voice to have their problems addressed by these scumbag political hacks both democratic and republican’s.

  13. vote early Says:

    LOST ALL OR PART OF YOUR 401K = THANK WALL STREET

    LOST YOUR HOME=THANK BIG BANKING

    PAID $3.50 AGALLON FOR GAS =THANK BIG OIL

    CANT AFFORD MEDICINE= THANK BIG PHARMA

    HAVE NO MEDICAL COVERAGE=THANK A REPUBLICAN

    HAVE THE GOVERMENT THAT DOESNT WORK FOR YOU BECAUSE YOU DIDNT VOTE LAST ELECTION= YOU HAVE NO ONE TO THANK BUT YOURSELF

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