With the recent “Amendment 1″ tax cut and falling home and property values, Florida’s state legislature faces one big challenge in terms creating a budget for the coming year. Declines in consumer spending are affecting sales tax revenue as well.
The legislative session has only just begun, but committees have already recommended budget cuts in education totaling $357 million. Teacher bonuses would be halved and its even possible that they will not get an annual raise. The large part of the spending reductions will come out of K-12 classes, but public colleges and Pre-K programs would also be affected under the current proposal.
The total loss to the schools would be more than 1.0% – 1.2% of current-year funding. Such a cut would undo the last few years of increases – and put education outlays at an inflation-adjusted level much lower than recent years.
The bills are expected to go to the floor of the legislature today or tomorrow, so I will keep an eye on things as they develop and post any further updates here.