Tallahassee, FL – A special panel of Florida lawmakers today approved Gov. Charlie Crist's request to transfer $672.4 million from a budget stabilization fund to fill a hole in the state budget. James Call reports that transfer covers less than half of a projected deficit.
When state economists lowered projections of how much money the state sales tax would raise, they triggered the new deficit recovery law which allows the budget commission to tap into the state's savings. Economist say a sluggish economy is causing the budget shortfall. When that happens, Key West Representative Ron Saunders says lawmakers could either find a way to raise more money or cut spending.
November is when the next revenue estimating conference is scheduled. Governor Crist says he's waiting until then to decide on further steps on how to handle the projected deficit. Although the budget commission okayed dipping into reserves, its chairman, Senator Rudy Garcia of Hialeah noted that the 672 million dollars must be repaid in full within five years.