Calm waters ahead for revenues, state budget outlook

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Florida’s revenues appear steady for the immediate future, state economists concluded on Thursday.

That means lawmakers can expect to have slightly more than $32 billion to spend when they write the state budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

“It’s going to be a very stable picture for the Legislature, with no big changes,” said Amy Baker, coordinator for the Office of Economic and Demographic Research.

“No surprises, up or down,” she added. “We made a lot of changes, but the cumulative effect of them keeps them (legislators) right on the same forecast path they were on.”

That extends to the ‘out-years’ for the budget forecast.

“We have a couple of years at 3.6 percent growth, and then taper down a little bit as you go further out,” Baker said.

Forecasters with Baker’s office, the Governor’s Office, and the House and Senate make up the conference, which was closing out more than a month spent recalculating the state’s economic and budgetary situation.

Thursday, they plowed through the particulars of the state sales, documentary stamp, beverage, pari-mutuel, insurance premium, severance, and corporate income taxes, among other contributors to the state’s General Revenue Fund.

Sales tax receipts had declined following last year’s encounter with Hurricane Irma, but rebounded somewhat as rebuilding began, Baker said.

“We also look at how much the state had to spend on ‘matches’ — providing assistance to local governments — and things that aren’t covered by the federal government at all, and what investments the Legislature made during Session,” she said.

Historically, “usually the state is the loser on that going forward.”


Ed. Note: Baker’s staff plans to post final numbers here. Check back later.

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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