Florida’s budget woes may be over; small surplus projected

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Florida is projected to have a small budget surplus for the coming year a new forecast released on Wednesday shows, writes Christine Jordan Sexton of the Florida Current.

The figures were included in a new long-range financial outlook that a panel of lawmakers will vote on next week. Florida’s Constitution requires that each year the state draw up and approve a forecast for the next three years.

But the state economists who came up with the forecast have warned that that the slowing economy could force them to revise the forecast downward. They anticipate that tax collections will drop over the next few months.

“There is a strong risk that the forecast for general revenue will be lowered,” the 99-page report states.

The report notes that the surplus is dependent on growth that is “attributable to existing Florida residents spending more, rather than the effect of increased population. For this assumption to hold, consumer confidence has to remain strong.” Recent reports have shown that consumer confidence across the nation has dropped amid stubbornly-high unemployment rates and signs that the recovery from the Great Recession may have stalled out.

Heading into next year economists have projected that the state will actually have nearly $274 million left over even after spending money on Medicaid, schools and a continued deficit in the court system. This surplus is projected even after setting aside $1 billion in reserves.

Continue reading Sexton’s article here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.