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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – When Gov. Rick Scott unveils his proposed state finances to a room filled with reporters and editors Tuesday morning in Tallahassee, the plan possible will embrace few new blockbuster packages.
What will probably be extra fascinating to finances observers is how Scott manages to suit all the things he needs into the price range.
As has been a practice amongst governors for years, Scott has spent weeks dribbling out probably the most politically fashionable parts of his advisable spending plan for the yr that begins July 1.
Scott has already pitched $618 million in tax cuts, elevated salaries for jail guards, raises for regulation-enforcement officers and an enlargement of the favored Brilliant Futures scholarship program. At most, he may need held again one vital spending merchandise for the large reveal.
However his plans have run right into a wall relating to math: Scott has requested for about $800 million in new spending and tax cuts. And whereas getting a repair on the state surplus within the arcane world of Florida budgeting is all the time slippery, the distinction between anticipated revenues and projected spending is probably going lower than $200 million.
That differs sharply from Scott’s personal estimate of additional cash that the Legislature has at its disposal: $2.eight billion, as he informed reporters throughout a press convention in Jacksonville final week to unveil his tax plan.
“We now have loads of revenues. … So we’ve received to spend our greenbacks properly,” he stated.
Scott’s concepts reduce towards a few of the state’s budgeting conventions, although he would hardly be the primary governor to make use of artistic math to make his proposed price range stability. Whereas Scott’s $2.eight billion estimate is technically right, it makes some unlikely assumptions about how lawmakers will act once they return to the Capitol for the legislative session that begins March 7.
For instance, the $2.eight billion quantity doesn’t account for will increase within the variety of youngsters who present up at Florida faculties. It doesn’t embrace elevated spending for Medicaid. And it doesn’t cowl the opposite run-of-the-mill spending boosts that lawmakers often make in a mean finances yr. All advised, these “essential and different excessive precedence wants,” in finances lingo, add as much as $1.6 billion within the coming fiscal yr.
In all — and after making room for round $300 million in tax cuts — state economists over the summer time projected that the Legislature would have an additional $7.5 million to work with. They added…