House Speaker Larry Cretul just issued initial budget allocations, and they're far grimmer than the picture and wish list laid out by Gov. Charlie Crist in his state of the state address Tuesday night.
He warns that "significant reductions to recurring state spending will be needed to achieve and maintain a balanced budget," given the 2010-11 deficit of as much as $3 billion and the "long range financial outlook" that shows a shortfall exceeding $5 billion for FY 2011-12 because the federal stimulus will have dried up.
Balancing the budget "will be more difficult than in previous years because the low hanging budgetary fruit has already been picked," his memo notes.
He is demanding no new taxes or fees, and even though k-12 would get 9 percent more in state funding, schools will face cuts because of reduced revenues from local property taxes. Same story for health care, where Cretul proposes a 19 percent increase in state dollars to offset the loss of federal stimulus - yet warns "This increase will not be sufficient to avoid significant reductions in services or programs in health care."
Here's the memo: Download House_Initial_Budget_Allocations