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Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

State grappling with projected $5.8 billion budget gap

Batten down the hatches and lash yourselves tightly to the deck.  It’s going to be some rough sailing for at least the next couple of years.   Our state legislators will be trying to close a $2.1 million dollar budget gap this year, while also working on a plan for the 2009-2010 budget. 

Here are some ideas Crist’s staff is considering according to the Orlando Sentinel:

Combining agencies. One proposal would join the Department of Health, which regulates medical professionals, with the Agency for Health Care Administration, which oversees hospitals and nursing homes. Another would combine the Department of Transportation and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. 

Halting the purchase of conservation lands; saving $1.5 million by closing 10 parks; cutting highway maintenance by $72 million.

Forcing as many as 147,000 state employees to take off work for up to two weeks without pay, saving over $300 million.

Other cuts are under consideration: saving up to $639.7 million by reducing or eliminating optional Medicaid services such as hearing aids, eyeglasses and prescription drugs. Cutting base funding for public schools and universities by $200 million. Suspending the Bright Futures college-scholarship program to save $436 million.

Along with that bad news – the state’s school districts just got their first reduced payments from the state.  Over the next seven months, they will receive $355 million less than they had expected last May. 

That’s a jolt.

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Filed under: Florida Legislature, Florida Politics, Jacksonville, , ,

One Response - Comments are closed.

  1. gatorblue says:

    Hard times in the Sunshine State. Some of the ideas that are being floated deserve consideration, like the combining of agencies. It’s certainly not going to be an easy process. In the meantime; however, although its a drop in this bucket, the Governor could start by reimbursing the state for his $400,000+ European vacation with his girlfriend.

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