Richard Corcoran dour on Florida’s state budget outlook
Florida House of Representatives speaker designate Richard Corcoran in his office in the Florida Capitol December 2, 2015.

Richard Corcoran 04 mw 120215 (Large)

House Speaker Richard Corcoran doesn’t believe the Legislature will have $7.5 million above existing spending when the time comes to write the next state budget.

“The budget, I think, is going to be difficult,” Corcoran told reporters following the House Organization Session Tuesday.

“Once we see the Zika effect in our state’s tax revenues, my hunch is that when we hit session in May we are going to be at best flatlined and at worst we could have a deficit,” he said.

Given his conservative predelictions, “for anything that anybody wants to do on either side” — meaning in the House or Senate — “they’re going to have to go in and they’re going to have to find cuts. What we’ve said over and over and over is that we are convinced, even without that being the reality, that we have a spending problem in this state. We are going to address that spending problem.”

The Joint Legislative Budget Commission projected in September that lawmakers would have an extra $7.5 million to play with next session, with deficits in subsequent years.

Corcoran considers that number “fictional.”

It doesn’t account for the full increase in managed care costs, or the true rate of return on pension investments, which have been declining — or an array of budgetary pressures, he said.

Even when the commission rendered its estimate, “in my estimation, we were probably more between ($500 million) and $1 billion in a hole,” Corcoran said

Michael Moline

Michael Moline is a former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal and managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal. Previously, he reported on politics and the courts in Tallahassee for United Press International. He is a graduate of Florida State University, where he served as editor of the Florida Flambeau. His family’s roots in Jackson County date back many generations.


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