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Fla. economy grows, but not enough to avoid budget woes

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Preliminary forecasts show Florida’s economy is growing, but probably not enough to solve the state’s looming budget constraints. State economists are meeting Monday to draw up forecasts to predict how much the state will collect in taxes. Gov. Rick Scott will use the forecasts to draw up budget recommendations for 2017. Preliminary estimates show economists expect the state’s main budget account to grow roughly four percent during the fiscal year that ends next June. And they are predicting growth slightly…

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Florida won’t have much extra money in 2017

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Florida will have very little extra money to spend in the coming year. That means top legislators and Gov. Rick Scott may have slash the state budget to meet some of their promises. The annual forecast released Tuesday shows that despite the state’s gradual economic recovery Florida is expected to bring in just enough money to meet its spending needs. That forecast shows the state will have a surplus of only $7.5 million during the fiscal year that starts in…

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Pinellas County School Board passes tentative tax rate for upcoming fiscal year

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Pinellas County School Board members unanimously approved a tentative tax rate Tuesday that is a slight decrease from the current rate. The proposed rate is about $7.32 per thousand dollars of assessed, taxable property value. That’s about 5.8 percent less than the current overall rate of about $7.77 for school property taxes. The reduced rate means a homeowner with a home assessed at $150,000 with a $25,000 homestead exemption would pay about $915 in property taxes for Pinellas schools next…

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SWIFTMUD adopts tax rate for coming fiscal year

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The Southwest Florida Water Management District has adopted a tax rate for the 2016-17 fiscal year that’s about 4.9 percent lower than the current rate. The proposed rate for the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, is about 33 cents per thousand dollars of assessed, taxable value. The current SWIFTMUD tax rate is about 35 cents per thousand dollars of assessed, taxable value. For the owner of a $150,000 home with a $50,000 homestead exemption, the district tax would be…

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St. Pete’s proposed budget includes millions for stormwater system improvements

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St. Petersburg’s tax rate would drop a bit, water and sewer rates would go up, and spending on the stormwater system would increase under Mayor Rick Kriseman’s proposed budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year. Kriseman’s recommended budget, released Thursday, totals about $507.7 million. That’s an increase of about $2.1 million, or 0.41 percent, over the current operating budget. The mayor noted that the city’s public works department, which includes the water and sewer enterprise funds, is about $28.9 percent of…

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Abortion, budget, tax cuts among new Florida laws

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Florida legislators passed 279 bills during this year’s session three months ago, and 162 of them take effect on Friday with the start of the state’s fiscal year, affecting school choice, abortion, tax cuts and many more aspects of life in the Sunshine State. Here’s a roundup of some of the measures taking effect: BUDGET: The $82.3 billion budget was passed by a combined vote of 159-1. It includes more than $700 million for school construction and $203.8 million for…

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City Council lays down preliminary 2017 budget priorities

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St. Petersburg City Council members met Thursday to start early debate on how the city should allocate its money next week. During a workshop, each council member laid out priorities for the fiscal year 2017 budget. Several council members, certainly enough for staff to pay attention to when writing the next budget, wanted to work toward lowering the city’s property tax rate. The current tax rate is at 6.77 mills – that means homeowners pay $6.77 per $1,000 of assessed…

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