The Joint Legislative Budget Commission met in September to hear a budget presentation by Florida’s chief economist Amy Baker. Ms. Baker reported that the upcoming Fiscal Year 2020-2021 should see a budget surplus of $289.3 million. However, she cautioned that storm clouds may be on the horizon as the threat of a recession increases.
A recession would likely mean a reduction in sales tax generated by tourists who visit our state each year. These visitors provided 13.4 percent of the sales tax revenue this past year. Additional worries include the loss of payments by the Seminole Tribe from the expired gaming Compact; an anticipated budget increase due to a rising student population; continuing hurricane recovery costs; and higher health care and drug costs. The Office of Economic & Demographic Research (EDR) is projecting a budget deficit for FY 2021-2022 of $486 million and FY 2022-2023 of $365.7 million.
The Commission voted to accept the report from the EDR, but were confident that population, jobs, and wages increases would minimize any economic downturn. The state currently has $3.8 billion in total reserves.