Florida’s budget woes have been well documented. Lawmakers need to find a way to close a $9.8 billion deficit by 2018. The legislature is moving forward with a plan that would divert $220 million from local governments, a move that has drawn criticism from local officials.
The budget also proposes adding tolls in the state’s Turnpike system, raising vehicle registration fees, and eliminating the homestead exemption for property taxes.
Background on the Florida budget deficit
Florida lawmakers and the Florida governor are in the midst of a budget crisis. Right now, the state faces an estimated $58 billion budget deficit and must come up with at least $20 billion in cuts to meet that target.
Meanwhile, lawmakers want to make changes to the state’s constitution, one of which would require a 2/3 majority vote to approve any tax increase.
Senate President Wilton Simpson on Federal Funds
And talking taxes, Florida Governor Rick Scott recently vetoed legislation that would have allowed municipalities to impose a local sales tax to help fund infrastructure projects.
Senate President Wilton Simpson has been facing major problems, same with the federal government facing problems in federal funds and federal aid.
Causes of the budget deficit in the federal government
It seems like every few months; there is yet another reason for the United States to have a budget deficit. While we can’t exactly put the finger on the exact cause of the deficit, we can pinpoint some contributing factors.
A deficit occurs when income exceeds spending. The budget deficit is the gap between income received and spending. The deficit is usually measured as a percentage.
The federal budget deficit is the gap between income and spending by the federal government. Florida’s budget deficit is the gap between income and spending by the state government.
Effects of the budget deficit
The Florida legislature’s $4.6 billion budget deficit is the largest in state history. This is a result of the state’s slow job growth and declining tax revenue.
Experts predict the deficit will continue to climb well beyond the $4 billion mark, with estimates as high as $10 billion.
As Florida continues to recover from the economic recession, the state and national economy face a budget deficit of $8.2 billion.
If the state continues to spend beyond revenue, the deficit will balloon to $20 billion by the end of 2019.
The deficit, combined with the state’s unsustainable debt, poses a significant threat to the success of the state’s economy.
Federal aid and Possible solutions to the budget deficit
With the upcoming legislative session looming, Floridians can expect more state economists and state lawmakers discussing the state’s budget deficit concern, which is projected to reach nearly $2 billion by 2022.
To help avoid a tax hike, lawmakers must decide on an alternative source of funding. One potential solution is to make more money from taxpayers, but lawmakers in Florida voted against it last year.
So, are other solutions on the table? What about deep cuts, minimum wage, federal total reserves, and state reserves? How do these affect state workers?
The best solution for the Florida department
A major concern during Gov. Rick Scott’s term in office has been the state budget crisis facing Florida’s state government.
With revenues falling short of projections, lawmakers across the state have been scrambling to find ways to balance the budget.
One suggestion is to reform Medicaid, the state’s health insurance program for the poor and disabled.
Reforming Medicaid is one way the state could free up money for other priorities.
How to implement the best solution
State budgets are rarely known for balancing. But, in the case of Florida, the state’s budget is so bad that some experts think even painful cuts aren’t enough.
Florida’s budget woes are the result of years of mismanagement, growth, and a bipartisan inability to control spending.
Gov. Rick Scott has been able to find a few places to cut, but he hasn’t managed to reduce spending enough.
Florida’s budget woes are not new, but this year’s federal money budget shortfall is the worst in 25 years.
Long-term effects of the budget deficit
This year, Florida is facing a budget deficit of $80 billion. The short-term solution includes spending cuts of $1.6 billion. Long-term budget cuts are more complex.
Some remedies are: cutting teacher pay, eliminating 1,700 school programs, ending adult basic education, and eliminating certain welfare programs.
State agencies are now working and having a deal with the government to raise dollars for budget stabilization funds because of the state debt.
Conclusion on the Florida budget deficit
Florida is in a unique position as it is becoming one of many state governments dealing with an ever-increasing budget deficit.
As has been the case in the past, this deficit has increased due to underfunding of public schools, healthcare, and revenue.
The effects have been felt most severely in public schools, where cuts have been made to teachers, curriculum, and support staff.
These cuts have caused a rise in dropout rates and a reduction in class size because of the pandemic and universities cost.