In a recent post I mentioned that the special session of the Florida legislature to find budget cuts had been cancelled. Now it is back on the calendar. It will take place from October 3 - 12, 2007. The delay was caused by a lack of cooperation between the legislature and Governor Crist concerning a framework under which the cuts would be made. Apparently the two sides are closer to agreement, though no concrete framework is in place. But they feel they are close enough that they can hold the session.
Nearly $1.5 billion in cuts must be found somewhere. This includes a $400,000 shortfall from last year that must be made up. There is no agreement yet between the Democrats and Republicans about where these cuts should be made. Although, it is felt by some that education may take a major hit. (Being a former teacher I was used to education being the step-child in the budget, even though politicians swore at every turn that it was their top priority. Yeah, right.). If cuts are not made or taxes raised, the next fiscal year's shortfall is predicted to be nearly $2.5 billion!
One partial solution being considered is an expansion of the Seminole Indian gambling activities. Now the games that are offered are limited. However, if they were allowed to offer more "casino" type games, it is believed that they could raise even more money, part of which would go to the state. Some say as much as $100 million a year. There is some opposition to taking this route though. And a $100 million is a LONG way from $1.5 BILLION!
It will be interesting to see what comes out on the other side of the sausage factory that our legislature has become. Insurance reform has done little that I can see. Property tax reform appears to be going down the same road. Now with budget cuts on the horizon..........? They used to say "voters get the governments they deserve", let's hope that we get better this time. Any bets??
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John Elwell - REALTOR
Bill Nye Realty, Inc.
Licensed in Florida