Hurricane Irma continues to take a toll on Florida.
The director of the Florida Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Amy Baker, explained the $52 million extra dollars expected to be on hand before the 2018-2019 budget year is going to not only be wiped out by Irma, but more than likely, leave Florida in the red.
“I would advise you to assume that $52 million is completely gone,” Baker said to the Joint Legislative Budget Commission as they approved the yearly long range financial outlook for the state.
Baker’s office reports that not only did the state have $52 million extra for the state prior to Hurricane Irma, the office is estimating a shortfall of nearly $1.15 billion during the 2019-2020 fiscal year and expecting it to potentially grow in the future.
The Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research further explained the $52 million surplus was the result of a deal between Governor Rick Scott and the Seminole tribe related to gambling.
Baker’s office is recommending to lawmakers prior to the next legislative session that starts in January 2018 to start planning now to recover from the deficit.
“If you wait, it’s going to be much more disruptive and much more painful to deal with it all at once,” she said.