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.
The severe economic contraction brought on by COVID-19 has reduced state revenues significantly. The pandemic is also increasing government costs such as virus response/recovery and assistance to those harmed economically by the public health emergency. This spells trouble for the current and future state budgets.
After 128 months of economic expansion through February 2020, the global coronavirus pandemic brought on the largest post-war contraction in U.S. history. With the resulting closure or slowdown of businesses, record unemployment, and a loss of tourism, Florida’s economy is suffering. The impact on government revenue has been and will continue to be profound. The General Revenue Estimating Conference met on August 14 and reduced the revenue projections by $3.420 billion in the current budget year and $1.994 billion in FY2021-22. This follows news that actual collections in FY2019-20 fell $1.9 billion short of the estimate.
As Florida continues its battle with the COVID-19 pandemic, the state has released General Revenue (GR) collections data for June (the last month of the FY19-20 fiscal year).1 Collections came in $427.8 million (13.4 percent) below estimate, following losses of $878.1 million (29.4 percent) in April and $779.6 million (26.4) percent in May. Because collections were running a bit above estimate before the pandemic hit, the $2.1 billion loss in the last quarter puts Florida down $1.9 billion (5.7 percent) for the year.