The budget keeps getting worse
Amy Baker, the Legislature's chief economist, continued her streak of delivering bad news and said today that next year's budget shortfall could be $3.62 billion, not $3.5 billion. A big cost driver is Medicaid. Rolls are swelling and costs are rising as the economy continues to stagnate. Since last summer, the state now estimates it needs $328 million more over the next 18 months to pay for the state-federal program.
But wait! There's more. Or less, actually, when it comes to tax collections. Gross receipts taxes are forecast to be down 3 percent. That means the state will have about $300 million less to spend on school and university building projects next budget year.
Earlier today, Senate President Mike Haridopolos hinted at the fact that the budget outlook would be worse and he all but said no Gov. Rick Scott's plan to cut taxes. After all, when you have a budget gap, making it bigger doesn't make it smaller. Only tax increases and cuts do that. And the chances of a tax increases are exceedingly slim.
** Mortifying error alert: headline originally said "work" not "worse." Too much Twitter, blogging, news stories, and numbing budget stats makes Marc a dull boy