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State Budget Shortfall Continues To Rise

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TALLAHASSEE – (CBS4)  – As if the state’s budget wasn’t cash strapped enough, state revenue forecasters added about another $135 million dollar to that shortfall.

The state’s budget already faces a $3.62 billion shortfall and it means deeper cuts as lawmakers create a spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1st.

The decrease comes from projected sales tax collections and corporate income tax, which is down $86.5 million from earlier estimates.

Amy Baker, coordinator of the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, said the shift was relatively small.

“In terms of adjustments, you all have seen over the last three years,” she said. “It is a small adjustment. Clearly, we’re in a much better place, much more stable place than we were, and every adjustment now is fine-tuning more than those big swings that you were seeing before.”

Forecasters say they need better data to determine why corporate taxes are falling short from projected figures.

“We really don’t have all the data on that we would like to have,” Baker said. “We won’t have that for a couple of months.”

Senate Budget Chairman J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, said lawmakers may give Gov. Rick Scott some of what he asked for specifically reducing corporate income rates and an end to education property taxes.

“I would expect we would provide for some,” he said. “How much, I don’t know.”
(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed significantly to this report.)

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