The Legislature’s chief economist has told lawmakers that next year’s relatively tiny budget surplus will be erased because of costs from Hurricane Irma. Amy Baker, director of the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, presented a working version of the state’s long-range financial outlook to the Joint Legislative Budget Commission on Friday. She explained that extra costs to the state from last year’s hurricanes, Hermine and Matthew, cost $76.2 million, meaning a projected $52 million surplus for fiscal year 2018-19 is “gone.”
Hurricane Irma could extend her destructive reach to the next state budget. A long-range financial report, which will be reviewed Friday by the Joint Legislative Budget Commission, shows lawmakers working with only a projected $52 million surplus as they craft the 2018-19 budget early next year. It’s a fiscal pittance in an overall $82 billion budget.