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Shortfall will wind up between $1.4 billion and $1.5 billion

The final numbers won't be known until later today, but state economists appear likely to adjust downward the state's general revenue numbers by somewhere between $1.4 billion and $1.5 billion for the 2006-07 fiscal year and 2007-08 fiscal year. Members of the general revenue estimating conference pegged the problem largely to Florida's troubled real estate market, saying housing sales and housing starts are down and that it has eroded consumer confidence.

That means most of the working capital fund, which was estimated to be about $1.8 billion this year, will be wiped out. Lawmakers have already called a special session for September to cut the state's $71 billion budget. While they could avoid the cuts by relying on reserves, if legislators don't act now they would be confronted with a large hole in the state budget next March.