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State Faces 3.4 Billion Dollar Shortfall

March 13th, 2009 by flanews

State lawmakers will have to decide how to fill an estimated 3.4 dollar budget deficit. State economists released their latest predictions this afternoon, and the debate over how to balance the budget is already raging. As Whitney Ray tells us, deep spending cuts, new taxes, and stimulus dollars could all be used to fill the budget gap.

The state is still collecting billions of sales tax dollars. But its not enough money to keep up with current government spending.

State economists met Friday to predict how bad the budget will get. Revenue collections will fall millions by years end. The new budget starting in July will be even worse.

Lawmakers will have to make tough choices to fill the budget hole. The debate of deeper spending cuts versus new taxes is already raging. Republicans says government could be more efficient.

We might have to take some reductions, said Representative Carl Domino

Democrats say cuts alone wont do the trick.

We do have to look at all additional revenue sources that may be out there, said House Minority Leader Franklin Sands.

Governor Charlie Crist isnt panicking about the predicted shortfall.

I caution they are only estimates. Im also aware that were in line to get about 13 billion dollars from the stimulus package so I think we should be in pretty darn good shape, said Crist.

Whether or not stimulus dollars alone will fill the budget gap is the battle lawmakers will fight for the remaining six weeks of the legislative session. Lawmakers are looking at the states more than 200 sales tax exemptions as one way to fill part of the budget gap. About 50 of the exemptions, including bottled water and dry cleaning are getting strong consideration.

Posted in Charlie Crist, Economy, Legislature, State Budget, State News, Taxes | No Comments »

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