The Florida TaxWatch Budget Watch series has been detailing the rapid recovery of the state government’s revenue collections from the initial precipitous drop in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have highlighted how current General Revenue (GR) estimates are back above the last pre-pandemic estimates. Coupled with billions of dollars in federal aid, Florida is in enviable fiscal shape as the Legislature heads into the 2022 Regular Session.
The massive amount of federal funding provided in the six stimulus acts provides an unprecedented opportunity to improve Florida and fund programs and infrastructure that have had long-standing backlogs with few past feasible opportunities to address to this degree.
2022 Legislature Heads into Session with a $7 Billion Budget Surplus
Last year, COVID-19’s arrival in Florida and the attendant economic shutdown had state forecasters—and virtually everyone else--predicting gloomy fiscal times for Florida. The 2020 legislative Long-Range Financial Outlook estimated that the 2021 Legislature would be facing a budget shortfall of $2.7 billion, and without significant spending cuts, the shortfalls would continue for at least two more years.
Florida General Revenue (GR) collections continue to exceed expectations throughout the pandemic and the new forecast paints a rosy budget picture for legislators as they head toward the 2022 Session.
Florida TaxWatch is pleased to present taxpayers with a guide to the FY2021-22 state budget, which went into effect July 1, 2021.
An analysis of the transparency and accountability of the budget process
The 2021 Budget turkey Watch report: an analysis of the transparency and accountability of the Budget processis the result of an annual independent review of Florida’s FY2021-22 budget by Florida TaxWatch. Budget Turkeys are items, usually local member projects, placed in individual line-items or accompanying proviso language that are added to the final appropriations bill without being fully scrutinized and subjected to the budget process.
As the chambers get ready to head into conference, this Budget Watch takes a look at the two chambers' budgets as they passed on the respective floors.
The General Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) met on April 6 and increased Florida’s general revenue (GR) projections by $1.476 billion in the current budget year and $551 million in FY2021-22.
Federal Funds Would Lead to Record Spending
Despite the negative revenue impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Legislature’s early talk of shortfalls and budget cuts, Governor Ron DeSantis has released a proposed budget for FY2021- 22 that totals $96.578 billion, a $4.308 billion (4.7 percent) increase over current year spending.
New General Revenue Estimates Add $2.1 Billion to Expected Collections
The General Revenue Estimating Conference (GREC) met on December 18 and 21 and increased Florida’s general revenue (GR) projections by $1.486 billion in the current budget year and $623 million in FY2021-22.1 This restores 39 percent of the $5.4 billion two-year reduction in the estimates adopted by the GREC last August.