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Dimmed budget outlook has TaxWatch urging efficiency

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Government spending watchdog Florida TaxWatch says the recommendations from the Florida Government Efficiency Taskforce are even more important in light of reduced revenue estimates over the next few fiscal years.

State economists recently predicted Florida will have $31.257 billion in general revenue funds for the 2016-17 budget year, $395 million less than their October estimate. The estimating conference also lowered estimates for budget years running through 2020-21 by an average of $279 million each year.

“The General Revenue Estimating Conference estimate shows how ripples in the global economy can quickly affect our state and communities,” said Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro. “Our state’s economy remains strong with growth in almost every sector but it is critically important that we protect taxpayers’ money with a vigilant focus on government efficiency. I encourage all lawmakers to review the recommendations from the Government Efficiency Task Force and I applaud the Senate for taking a key step toward ensuring a solid review of government spending with SPB 7052.”

The proposed committee bill would require the governor to submit recommendations for cost reductions in state agencies in addition to his overall budget proposal. Agencies getting funding cuts would need to submit quarterly reports to the Legislature detailing the implementation of the funding cut.

The Government Efficiency Task Force also recommended changing sentencing guidelines for low-level, nonviolent offenders, changing the state’s accounting system and embracing telehealth as potential avenues for government savings.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

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