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Published on Thursday, October 01, 2015

Despite Surplus, Florida Faces Budget Challenges

$635 million surplus could quickly turn into a deficit

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida lawmakers will have a $635 million surplus when they craft the 2016-17 state budget, but in a new research report, Florida TaxWatch warns that spending the entire surplus will create a deficit in the near future.

“Florida’s economy is returning to its pre-recession days, and the available funds for the state budget reflect that strength,” said Dominic M. Calabro, President and CEO of Florida TaxWatch. “Even with more cash to spend, lawmakers should practice fiscal discipline to ensure Florida’s reserves remain healthy and the state budget is sustainable.”

The state’s Long-Range Financial Outlook, adopted by the Legislative Budget Commission earlier this month, shows that lawmakers will only be able to spend $74 million of the $635 million surplus in order to prevent a shortfall in three years. However, the outlook shows state revenues are growing, and $31.5 billion in General Revenue will be available for next year’s budget.

“There will still be intense competition for funding in the next year,” said Kurt Wenner, Vice President for Research at Florida TaxWatch. “Just as state revenue is climbing, demand for services is also increasing. State economists have predicted $1.6 billion for increased needs next year, ranging from education to health services.”

Read the report: http://www.floridataxwatch.org/library/periodicals/budgetwatch/september2015.aspx

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Author: TaxWatch Staff

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Contact Leah Courtney by Email
or Phone: 850.212.5052