When the 2015 Legislature convenes in Tallahassee, it is expected to have nearly $30 billion in General Revenue to create the state budget for FY 2015-16, according to a Budget Watch from Florida TaxWatch, the privately supported think tank examining government spending. However, after this month's GR Estimating Conference, the new General Revenue projection is $141.6 million less than previously thought.
The state's estimators attribute the scaled back projections to normal fluctuations, not any underlying weaknesses in the economy. The final estimate for next year's budget won't be announced until March.
For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, actual GR collections fell short of projections made last March by $106 million. The revenue collection estimates for the current fiscal year (2014-15) were increased by $49.2 million, but the estimates for the next year (2015-16) were lowered by $84.1 million.
Estimates for the sales tax, the largest source of General Revenue, were increased. However, the estimates for corporate income taxes and real estate taxes (documentary stamp and intangibles taxes) were all revised lower.
"Florida is now in the middle of its largest ever state budget, which is expected to grow even larger next year," said Dominic M. Calabro, President and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, the independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit taxpayer research institute. "Florida is experiencing steady recovery and growth and our revenues have finally recovered from the recession."
Read More at Florida Trend . . .
This Florida TaxWatch report is available in PDF format: "Budget Watch: Total Collections Expected to Surpass Pre-Recession High"