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Gov. Scott Approves Loan To Bail Out Courts – Again

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(Source: AP)

(Source: AP)

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) – The wheels of justice will continue to roll across South Florida, and the rest of the state, now that Gov. Rick Scott has approved a $45.6 million loan for the state’s court system.

This is the second time this year that the courts have been forced to borrow money from the state’s reserve accounts because revenue from foreclosure fees failed to meet expectations. The courts rely more heavily on fees from foreclosure filings because they are higher than those for other kinds of cases.

Foreclosures, though, have been very volatile. A large number of cases have clogged Florida’s courts since the housing bubble burst, but they dropped off last year. Lenders held back on new cases due to problems that included lost paperwork and erroneous filings.

State economists expected the filings to pick up in the new budget year. It didn’t happen to the extent expected so they’ve now reduced the court system’s revenue forecast.

Scott’s budget director, Jerry McDaniel, said the loan money will have to be repaid by next June 30th when this year’s budget year ends. The court system’s shortfall is expected to total $159 million by then

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady said they plan to ask the Legislature for additional funds to repay the loan and cover the rest of the shortfall.

Lawmakers will convene their annual 60-day session on January 10th.

Last April, Scott approved a $19.5 million loan to tide the courts over until the end of the last budget year because of a $72.3 million shortfall. Scott also approved a $14 million funding shift within the court system. The courts then cut spending and received a supplemental appropriation from the Legislature to repay the loan and cover the rest of the shortfall.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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