Budget Watch - New GR Estimates Up $627 Million
The latest Florida General Revenue Estimating Conference produced some good news for the Governor and the legislators that will be putting together the next state budget. Increased estimates of revenue to be collected in the current year (FY2014-15) and the next year (FY2015-16) mean that there will be $627.9 million more general revenue (GR) for the Legislature to work with than the previous estimate.
At its meeting December 15, the conference adopted a new forecast that shows that Florida’s economy is recovering and people are spending more. Lower gas prices are helping to free up some discretionary income and consumers are responding. Taxable sales relating to tourism and business purchases are also increasing.
Since the last GR forecast in August, actual collections have exceeded expectations. At the end of November, total collections for the year (five months) were $158.6 million (1.55 percent) over estimate. Since this overage was stronger and more consistent than normal variations, the Conference upped the new estimates.
The Conference increased its estimates by $296.0 million for FY2014-15 and by $331.9 million for FY2015-16. GR collections are now estimated to total $27.485 billion this year and $28.578 next year, showing annual growth of 4.9 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively.