From The Watercooler, Governor Crist’s former Chief of Staff George LeMieux’s blog page:
The Florida Legislature is contemplating whether it will reach a decision on the state’s budget by May 1st, the last day of Regular Session. If they do not come to an agreement, they may have to arrange for a “rare overtime session to get the job done,” according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
According to the state constitution, legislators are required to pass only one bill: a budget,” reported the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. With a budget deficit now estimated to be more than $6 billion in 2010 and the unknown amount of stimulus money that the state will receive, state legislators faces unprecedented challenges.
The Florida Legislature was brought up to speed on the state’s finances on Friday with they heard the grim forecasts by state economists. “State revenues have dropped a staggering 24 percent in the last four years leaving Florida lawmakers with the daunting task of filling a $1.1 billion hole in this year’s budget and scrambling to make up a $2.3 billion shortfall next year,” reported the Lakeland Ledger.
If legislators are unable to come to an agreement by May 1, they can adjourn without a budget deal and vote to extend the session. Or they can adjourn and call legislators back in a special session when there is an agreement on the table. One way or the other, the Legislature is constitutionally required to have a budget in place by the start of the new fiscal year, July 1.