Florida lawmakers are unlikely to need to cut the state budget next year, according to a new state forecast. Economists expect the state will collect enough revenue to pay for schools, health care and tuck away money in reserves.
This is a turnaround from recent years when legislators have been confronted with budget shortfalls. A $4 billion shortfall in 2011 prompted a round of layoffs and a contentious move to force public employees to pay 3 percent of their salaries to cover part of their pension costs. The nearly $70 billion state budget that took effect in July included a $300 million cut to state universities.
Amy Baker, the head of the state’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research and who helped draw up the new forecast, said recent rounds of budget cuts and a slow recovery from the recession have resulted in the forecast that shows that the state’s budget should remain balanced.