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Florida Revenue Drops, Budget Shortfall Grows

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Legislative Session Coverage

TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – The state of Florida was already set to face a budget shortfall of roughly $3.62 billion. But, numbers being reconciled on Friday boosted that number to almost $4 billion, after some revenue revisions by state economists that paint a less favorable view of the state’s economic recovery.

Governor Scott and the Legislature see the deficit increasing between $110 million and $332.4 million. The Department of Revenue said the deficit will actually decrease by $47 million, but late Friday, State economists said general revenue will be $215.8 million lower than expected. That, they say, will increase Florida’s budget shortfall by just under 1%, likely meaning deeper cuts in a year when massive cut are already on the table.

The biggest difference between the three estimates deals with the sales tax.

The Legislature is forecasting a drop of roughly $193.7 million while Scott’s office sees a decline of about $108.8 million. The Department of Revenue projected the smallest drop of roughly $16.6 million.

However, after reviewing the numbers Friday, the consensus was a slower than expected economic recovery has depressed sales tax revenue well below predictions, leading to an agreement that revenue will be almost a quarter-billion less that anticipated.

In addition, the corporate income tax is projected to be down by $137.5 million by the Legislature; $47.4 million according to Scott’s office; and $5.3 million by the Department of Revenue.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service Of Florida contributed to this report.)

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