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A rare sighting at the state Capitol: Black ink

by John Kennedy | September 12th, 2012

With Florida’s tax collections on the rise and several rounds of spending cuts having sharply shrunk services, state lawmakers should see something they haven’t eyed in more than five years:

Black ink.

Amy Baker, coordinator of the Legisature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research, told a legislative panel Wednesday that revenue should outstrip spending next year by just over $71.3 million — even when lawmakers tuck away $1 billion in reserves.

“We are on track and things are moving as we expect them to move at this point,” Baker told the Legislative Budget Commission.

A year ago, Baker gave the panel a similar optimistic forecast – but included some cautions that ultimately came true. At the time, consumer confidence was darkening — unlike the current mood — and Florida’s revenues eventually crumbled in subsequent months.

Lawmakers entered last session with more than a $1 billion budget gap — and more cuts ensued.

Plenty of uncertainties remain, Baker said. But so far numbers show the state, “consistently in good shape.”

After cutting millions from the state budget when the recession hardened in 2007, lawmakers have dealt with shortfalls each of the past five years through program cuts and layoffs of thousands of workers across state and local governments.

The Legislature, however, has also sought to squirrel away dollars when they could – and completed the current year $69.9 billion budget with an additional $1 billion in reserves, a level that lawmakers have said they want to maintain.

Senate Budget Chairman J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, who has guided much of the budget-cutting of recent years and will leave office in November, said Baker’s report was good to hear. But he added that sizing up the state of Florida’s economy, “We’re not out of the woods yet.”

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5 Responses to “A rare sighting at the state Capitol: Black ink”

  1. John Says:

    I applaud Governor Scott for delivering on his promise to reel in Florida government insanities and bring the State back to being fiscally responsible. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan can do the same for the US and out of the $15 trillion Obama mess.

  2. GO SCOTT Says:

    Go Rick Scott!

    Black INK!

    and the USA under Obama

    $16 TRILLION DEBT?

    FLORIDA has better credit rating than the United States of America.

    Just take a look at the state of CALIFORNIA! Wallowing in debt because they refused to make cuts! Now, democrat governor Brown IS PROPOSING cuts to the CA!

  3. Roosting in the Middle East Says:

    Obama’s weak leadership is coming home to roost.

    and his failed programs and policies have deepened the recession.

    Unemployment is way too high, there are few jobs (just too many people not even trying to get a job), gas prices are high, food prices are high and we’re still dependent on foreign energy-we should be developing our own and putting people to work-by doing so.

    The President has not united the people of this country. He has failed to work and compromise with other elected officials. Our country is more divided than the day he took office.

    The ‘friendship’ initiative in the Middle East is foundering and the death of 4 government officials should not have occurred. It was 9/11 and security should have been beefed up.

    President Obama needs to stop apologizing for some unknown filmmaker who made a film about Islam. The democrats have no problem attacking catholic religious beliefs, mormon beliefs and taking God out of the platform….but yet they apologize for a filmmaker!?!?

    Bad, bad policy and misdirection by President Obama.

    We can’t afford 4 more years. It’s a grave mistake.

  4. RobWPB Says:

    I find it sad that this article was burried soon after release. If this was a Democrat Governor and these numbers were reported it would be front page of the Palm Beach Post.. but, its not, its hidden from view almost immediately. Good Job Rick Scott!

  5. Slash + Burn Says:

    BWAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Look at the Republicans. They obviously don’t understand how the world works.

    Let me let you folks in on a little secret.

    FLORIDA has a pathetic economy and no jobs because while cutting taxes and slashing services does indeed lead to a balanced budget, it ALSO leads to weak growth, if any.

    The way to have growth and shared prosperity is to basically do the exact OPPOSITE of the Slash + Burn Tea Party GOP.

    We need to INVEST in education, INVEST in infrastructure, INVEST in bringing down the cost and improving the quality of health care.

    At the end of the day, it really depends on who you think FLORIDA should be working for.

    Should the state of Florida work for the rich and the multinational corporations?

    Or should the state of Florida work for, oh I dunno, FLORIDIANS?

    Slash + Burn Teabag GOP governance promotes the former, not the latter. And that’s just the way it is.

    So if you care about your child’s future, vote for growth by voting for Democrats who will gladly step up and invest in our future instead of sitting back watching roads crumble while Bill Koch goes shopping for his 35,001st rare bottle of wine or yet another Matisse for his gargantuan mansion on A1A.

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