GOP contender and Naples businessman Rick Scott has used Florida's budget woes as a consistent talking point on the campaign trail.
He has repeatedly said that Florida has a $6 billion budget "deficit" and has touted his jobs and economic plan as way to deal with it. That plan calls for deep budget cuts including laying off state employees, increasing pension contributions by state workers, teachers and police officers and reducing the salaries of corrections officers. Scott's jobs plan even warns that Florida is going the way of "California" and "Greece." Scott has also been critical of the decision by GOP legislators to accept federal stimulus dollars the last two years.
But Florida’s projected budget gap for the coming year has shrunk by nearly $3 billion, a new forecast released on Friday shows. (One can argue later the use of the word "gap" versus "deficit," since Florida has to have a balanced budget unlike the federal government.)
This new forecast means that state legislators will have a much smaller potential shortfall to deal with next spring when they work on a new budget for 2011. Depending on what items lawmakers decide to fund, the shortfall could be anywhere from $2.5 billion to as small as $828 million. The previous predicted budget gap was nearly $5.5 billion.
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