The coronavirus crisis has wrought untold economic devastation, and a Florida Senator wants answers on how badly the federal budget is hit.
On Wednesday, Sen. Rick Scott wrote Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Phillip Swagel, concerned over mounting red ink and “mountains of debt” that exceed $77,000 per capita.
“This year’s federal budget deficit will be the largest in the history of our nation, in excess of the cumulative deficits for the first 200 years of our country’s existence. We will end the year with an excess of $25 trillion in federal debt.”
“The CBO Monthly Budget Review for April 2020 reported that the federal deficit stood at an estimated $737 billion in the month of April, compared to a surplus of $160 billion in April 2019,” Scott noted.
“We have tripled the previous record for the largest single month deficit. This is the second time in three months we have held a larger monthly deficit than we saw in the peak of the Great Recession.
“Even before the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shutdowns came to the United States, CBO had projected the deficit to land at $1 trillion for the fiscal year. That projection is now at $3.7 trillion. In the first six months of this fiscal year, we have already created a $1.48 trillion deficit,” Scott added.
Augmenting the problem is Scott’s belief that taxes, the collection of which has been suspended, may not ever be paid.
“April tax revenue stood at $239 billion, down 55% from April 2019, as individuals and businesses struggle under the economic impact of Coronavirus shutdowns and are forced to defer tax payments, many of which may never be paid,” Scott said.
Scott wants to know how much tax revenue will be lost, what the chances are to clawback some of those funds, and to see an itemization of which coronavirus costs are wreaking the most havoc on the budget.
For Scott, who has weaved politics and policy together since his eight years in Tallahassee, the economic crisis has also offered him opportunities to joust with ideological opposites.
The Senator has bemoaned so-called “Blue State Bailouts,” hammered coronavirus relief spending going to monied universities, NPR, and the Kennedy Center, cavilled about people finding unemployment too attractive, and made other plays to the right.
“I’m very concerned about where we’re heading, and about the size of the Federal Reserve balance sheet,” Scott said earlier in May to an Americans for Prosperity town hall. “We’ve got to figure this stuff out.”