With Capitol committee rooms and hallways eerily desolate, lawmakers this week waded through a series of high-profile issues. The pandemic and its economic fallout garnered much of House and Senate members’ attention.
House Appropriations Chairman Jay Trumbull, a Panama City Republican, told his committee to expect budget cuts and warned not to rely on federal assistance for a bailout.
“We do not build our budget based on assumptions as to what Congress may or may not do,” Trumbull said Wednesday. “Because the reality is, we don’t have an idea how much they’re going to give, if they’re going to give anything, and what strings would be associated with that gift.”
A panel of state economists last month projected reductions in state general revenue of $3.3 billion over two years, an improvement from an August outlook projecting the hit at $5.4 billion.
Information provided to the House panel pointed to a projected $2.75 billion general-revenue deficit for the fiscal 2021-2022 budget, which lawmakers will negotiate during the upcoming session. Cuts could be spread across multiple budget areas, from education and health care to the environment and the justice system.
“It is mathematically impossible to cut $2 billion out of this budget without taking anything from education, obviously, due to the fact that recurring (general revenue) represents a significant amount of our budget,” Trumbull said.
Republished with permission of The News Service of Florida.