May 27, 2020

Sharp drop in state tax collections threatens pay raises, programs [Palm Beach Post]

John Kennedy (Gatehouse) writes:

"The coronavirus’s financial hit on the Florida economy is coming into sharper focus, with a new report showing state tax collections falling almost $900 million short in April.

And May is likely to be worse, analysts say.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has not yet acted on a $93.2 billion budget proposal approved by the Legislature in March. But the spending plan is expected to need dramatic retooling, even if helped by federal aid, state reserves and the governor’s anticipated vetoing of hundreds of millions of dollars in programs and projects to reduce costs.


The Florida Policy Institute, a non-partisan research organization [emphasis added], said that sales tax losses, alone, could soon hit $800 million-a-month, initially caused by the coronavirus shutdown but then followed by rising unemployment, which will slow tourist visits and consumer spending.

Florida’s unemployment rate hit 12.9% in April, less than the national 14.7% level. But jobless numbers across the country are expected at least to near 16% by mid-summer, which will have its own jarring effect on Florida’s tourist-driven economy.

'In other words, as people from other states face job losses and are unable to travel to Florida, tourism-generated economic activity and the state’s revenue suffers,' said Robert C. Osborne, board chair of the Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added]."


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