In their Long-Range Financial Outlook for fiscal years 2011 – 2012 through 2013 – 2014 released on September 7, 2010, the Florida Legislature's Office of Economic and Demographic Research and the appropriations staffs of the Florida House and Senate project a state budget shortfall of $2.5 billion for the 2011 – 2012 fiscal year. As recently as one year ago, the official projected shortfall for 2011 – 2012 was $5.5 billion.
According to Amy Baker, Director of the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, “The revenue side is slightly better, and the spending has leveled off.” She noted, however, that the forecast does not include any potential costs related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The new forecast reflects greater than anticipated tax receipts, positive results from tax amnesty legislation, revenue from the Seminole Indian Gaming Compact, and spending cuts. Increased revenues account for $1.3 billion, or 43 percent of the difference between the previous projection and the current projection. Reduced expenditures account for $1.7 billion or 57 percent of the difference.
For the 2011 – 2012 fiscal year, the total amount of general revenue available for appropriation by the Legislature will be $25.2 billion. General revenue expenditures would be $26.0 billion (for a shortfall of $828 million) if only “critical needs” are addressed, or $27.7 billion (for a shortfall of $2.5 billion) if “other high priority needs” are addressed. “Other high priority needs” are defined as issues that the Legislature has historically funded and are generally regarded as “musts” in normal budget years.
For fiscal year 2012 – 2013, the projected shortfall for critical and other high priority needs is $2.8 billion, and for the following fiscal year the projected shortfall is $1.9 billion.