Florida state budget (2009-2010)

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Florida had a $66.5 billion state budget for FY 2009-2010, passed by the Florida State Legislature on May 8, 2009 and signed by Gov. Charlie Crist on May 27, 2009.[1][2] Gov. Crist line-item vetoed two provisions, a 2% pay cut on state workers and a transfer of $6 million from the concealed weapons trust fund.[3] The budget included an increase in tobacco taxes ($1.00 per pack of cigarettes) and $900 million in increased revenue from expanding gambling.[4] $4.7 billion was from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.[5] Florida was estimated to receive $12.2 billion from ARRA over three fiscal years.[6]

The 2009-2010 budget included: $26 billion (39%) for health/human services, $21.3 billion (32%) for education, $9.3 billion (14%) for natural resources/transportation/economic development, $5.2 billion (8%) for justice/corrections, and $4.7 billion (7%) for general government.[7]

The Florida State Legislature had to meet in a special session in early January 2009 before the regular session to close a $2.5 billion gap for 2008-2009 budget.[8] The legislature reached a budget deal to close the then-current budget year on January 11, 2009 with $1.2 billion in cuts and $1.6 billion in transfers and trims to leave a cushion of about $300 million going into the regular session.[9]

Florida's Director of the Office of Policy and Budget, Jerry L. McDaniel, sent out a memorandum on October 12, 2009 to the executives of state agencies advising them of an anticipated $2.6 billion shortfall for the upcoming 2010-2011 budget. While general fund revenues expected limited growth, Medicaid and other expense increases would consume it.[10]

The 2010-2011 revenues for the general fund would be the first fiscal year to see an increase, 6.8%, after four consecutive years of negative collections. 8.2% revenue growth was projected for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.[11]

Budget background

See also: Florida state budget

"The budget development process has three major phases: agency requests, governor’s recommendations and legislative adoption. Following instructions issued jointly by the governor’s office and the legislature in July, state agencies begin developing long-range program plans and budget requests which lay out the programs and funding needs of each agency for the next fiscal year. By mid-October, these requests are submitted to the governor for consideration in the recommended budget. The legislature convenes in its regular session beginning in March. The budget passed by the legislature is valid for one year, beginning each July 1, and ending on June 30."[12]

The 2010 regular legislative session was scheduled March 2 to April 30, 2010.[13] Article III, section 3(d) of the Florida State Constitution stipulates regular sessions shall not exceed 60 consecutive days and special sessions shall not exceed 20 days.[14]

Florida does not have a personal income tax.[15]

Budget figures

Fiscal year 2010 tax collections compared with projections used in adopting fiscal year 2010 budget (millions)

Category Amount
Sales tax original estimate 15,902
Sales tax revised estimate 15,967
Personal income tax original estimate N/A
Personal income tax revised estimate N/A
Corporate income tax estimate 1,508
Corporate income tax estimate 1,730

Accounting principles

See also: Florida government accounting principles

David W. Martin was Florida's Auditor General. The Auditor General is a constitutional officer appointed by the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee. The appointment is confirmed by both houses of the legislature. The department's audit reports are available online.[16]

Florida combined the offices of the State Treasurer and State Comptroller into the position of Chief Financial Officer after voters passed a constitutional amendment in November 1998. Florida's Chief Financial Officer was Alex Sink, elected in 2006. The Chief Financial Officer oversees the Department of Financial Services. The Florida legislature in 2002 merged the state Department of Insurance, Treasury and State Fire Marshal and the Department of Banking and Finance into the Department of Financial Services.[17]

Credit rating Fitch Moody's S&P
Florida[18] AA+ Aa1 AAA

Budget status, 2008-2009

As early as November 2006, Florida had the second-most foreclosures in the country with 95,862 homes foreclosed upon in just the third quarter of that year.[19] In November 2007, Florida's government began withdrawing money from a multi-billion dollar investment pool that funded local cities and school districts over concerns of investments linked to subprime mortgages.[20] In 2007, Florida also began cutting spending in an effort to balance the budget.[21] A year later, in December 2008, Florida only trailed Arizona in the number of foreclosures, and it implemented a voluntary, 45 day moratorium on home foreclosures.[22] Although this led to a 20% decline in foreclosures for January 2009, the Florida foreclosure rate remained one in 214 homes.[22] The collapse of the housing sector was a major concern, particularly since it was predicted to continue on its downward spiral until 2010-2011.[23]

In addition to the far-reaching effects of the mortgage crisis, Florida faced long-term budget problems as a result of a decline in its major economic engines, building, migration and tourism, which had all declined. State revenue had declined for three years in a row, and the new fiscal year beginning July 1, 2009 had the potential to be the fourth.[21] With the fall in property taxes, school districts remained underfunded.[21] Also, since Florida does not have an income tax, it relies heavily on sales tax, corporate tax and real estate transaction taxes, which had all declined.[21]

The following table provides a glimpse into state expenditures and gross domestic product from 2000 to the present.

Fiscal year General funds expenditures Gross domestic product (millions)
2001 $91,800[24] $497,423[25]
2002 $99,300[24] $522,719[25]
2003 $107,400[24] $559,021[25]
2004 $115,500[24] $607,284[25]
2005 $130,900[24] $670,237[25]
2006 $140,500[24] $716,505[25]
2007 $150,900[24] $734,519[25]
2008 $162,200[24] $753,000[24]

2008 deficit elimination package

On January 14, 2009, the Florida legislature passed a deficit-elimination package, in an effort to close the budget shortfall for 2008.[26] The plan included:

  • increases in traffic fines of $10 for every traffic ticket issued except for speeding tickets, which went up by $25 and an elimination of an 18% discount on tickets for those enrolled in driver's improvement courses;[26]
  • a suspension in the environmental land program saving $4 million and canceling $250 million in bond sales;[26]
  • a 10.5% cut in Medicaid payments to nursing homes and a tax increase on nursing homes;[26]
  • a transfer of $400 million from a rainy day fund, leaving about $250 million in the fund;[26]
  • a $466 million cut in education spending, an option for school administrators to volunteer for pay cuts and limiting the severance of teachers and administrators to one year;[26]
  • a 2% decrease in teacher bonuses, saving the state $11 million;[26]
  • a 4% cut in aid to state universities and community colleges for a savings of $157 million;[26]
  • $700 million to be borrowed from a $1.2 billion endowment that invests money from tobacco settlements for future use on healthcare programs;[26]
  • a $9.9 million cut in the state's public/private tourism agency, Visit Florida;[26]
  • a 5% cut in a program that helps people with developmental disabilities, including autism;[26]
  • an $190 million cut in a program that helps pay for low and moderate-income housing;[26]
  • an elimination of 1,400 state jobs; and[26]
  • a $3.75 million decrease in funding for cancer, cardiovascular, stroke and pulmonary diseases[26].

Stimulus funds

In February 2009, Governor Crist requested $2.3 billion in funds from the federal government.[27] Governor Crist stated, "I'm not a big-government fan, but there are times when government needs to help."[27] With President Obama's signing of the stimulus bill on February 17, 2009, Florida expected to receive $12 billion in federal funds.[21] Governor Crist believed that the federal funds would be enough to avoid further spending cuts if the legislature approved an agreement allowing Seminole Indians to expand gambling at tribal casinos in exchange for paying the state millions of dollars per year for the freedom to did so.[21]

Of the $12 billion, Florida might not have not been eligible for $3.5 billion because of a requirement that states that accepted stimulus money should not lower education spending below 2006 levels.[28] Florida had asked Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for a waiver so that they may receive the full $12 billion.[28][29]

On March 8, 2009, The Miami Herald reported that the state was considering borrowing against the Florida Prepaid College Board, a fund into which parents pay in order to lock in tuition rates for their children's future college tuition.[30] Some believed that because the fund was guaranteed by the state, the state should be able to borrow against the $8.8 billion fund.[30] Others disagreed, arguing that the state did not have the right to borrow against the fund and further, that this was another example of "lawmakers pillaging savings accounts and special funds."[30]

State budget websites and analysis

See also: Evaluation of Florida state website

Florida had some level of transparency, including "Florida's Checkbook," an online spending database created by the state's Chief Financial Officer, Alex Sink.

Certain public agencies had failed to comply with open records laws.[31]

Economic stimulus transparency

  • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 designated $787 billion to be spent throughout the nation. Of that $787 billion stimulus package, it was estimated that 69%, or over $541 billion, would be administered by state governments.[32]
  • It was estimated that Florida would receive at least $7.7 billion in federal funding.[33]

Five Florida project were noted in Senator Coburn's and Senator McCain's "Summertime Blues, 100 stimulus projects that give taxpayers the blues" report. One of the projects provided $13,304,484 in stimulus funds for repairs to Dry Tortugas National Park, the third-least visited national park in the continental United States, meaning a vast majority of taxpayers would never set foot on the island that was the park.[34] Another of the listed projects provided Winter Haven Area Transit with five new buses at a cost of $2.4 million, despite the fact that buses carried two to three riders per hour, according to the City Commission’s liaison to the Transit authority.[34]

Error in ARRP

According to Recovery.gov, stimulus funds went to 884 congressional districts, though there are only 435.[35][36]

According to the ARRP website, the stimulus package "created or saved" more than 100 jobs in six Florida districts that did not exist.[37]

Legislation

Florida Senate Bill 1796 "[d]irects the Legislative Auditing Committee to provide oversight and management of a state website providing information on governmental appropriations and expenditures" and "[r]equires the Executive Office of the Governor to establish a website providing information relating to each appropriation in the General Appropriations."[38] SB 1796 was signed by Governor Crist on May 27, 2009.[39]

Government tools

The following table is helpful in evaluating the level of transparency provided by a state spending and transparency database.

Criteria for evaluating spending databases
State database Searchability Grants Contracts Line item expenditures Dept./agency budgets Public employee salary
Florida's Checkbook Y
600px-Yes check.png
Y
600px-Yes check.png
Y
600px-Yes check.png
P
Partial.png
{{{1}}}
N
600px-Red x.png
  • Florida's Checkbook was searchable, and was easy to navigate as it was categorized by type.[40]
  • Contracts were available through search.[41] There was a vendor search, but one had to search by specific vendor.[42]
  • Line item expenditures were available on the annual financial report, but not on budgets.[43]
  • Department and agency budgets were available.[44]
  • Public employee salaries were not available.

Support for creation of the database

The National Taxpayers Union urged representatives to support House Bill 181, which would have created a spending transparency database.[45]

Americans for Tax Reform also urged for transparency and made a statement to the Florida Finance and Tax Committee.

Public employee salary information

See also: Florida state government salary

See also

External links

Additional reading

References

  1. The Miami Herald, "House passes budget 75-43, sine die to come," May 8, 2009
  2. Gov. Crist Press Release, "Governor Crist Signs 2009-2010 Budget to Maintain Investments in Florida's Future," May 27, 2009 (dead link)
  3. Gov. Crist, "Veto Message," May 27, 2009
  4. The Miami Herald, "Crist signs budget but restores pay to state workers," May 27, 2009
  5. Foley & Lardner LLP, "Florida Government and Politics Weekly Update," February 23, 2009
  6. Gov. Crist Web site, "The People's Budget," accessed October 14, 2009
  7. Florida Department of Education, "2009-2010 Education Budget," May 19, 2009
  8. Gov. Crist," "The Crist / Kottkamp Administration Fiscal Year 2009-10 Budget Recommendations," retrived October 14, 2009
  9. The Miami Herald, "Budget deal done with $2.8b plan. Session to end Weds," January 11, 2009
  10. Jerry L. McDaniel, Director Office of Policy & Budget Memorandum, “FY 2010-2011 Legislative Budget Requests,” October 12, 2009 (dead link)
  11. Legislative Budget Commission, "Long-Range Financial Outlook Fiscal Year 2010-11 through 2012-13," September 15, 2009
  12. Gov. Crist, "Budget Process Overview," accessed October 14, 2009
  13. Florida State Legislature, 2010 Session Dates," accessed October 14, 2009 (dead link)
  14. Online Sunshine, "Florida State Constitution," accessed October 14, 2009
  15. State of Florida.com, accessed October 14, 2009
  16. Florida Auditor General Web site, accessed October 14, 2009
  17. Florida Department of Financial Services Web site (dead link)
  18. California State Treasurer, “Comparison of Other States’ General Obligation Bond Ratings”
  19. Foreclosurelistings.com, Florida Ranks Second Among States with Most Foreclosures, November 13, 2006
  20. New York Times, Fund Crisis in Florida Worrisome to States, December 5, 2007
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 21.5 More spending cuts likely for Florida budget, February 18, 2009
  22. 22.0 22.1 Tampa Bay's 10 Connects.com, 1 in 214 Florida Homes in Foreclosure, February 12, 2009
  23. Pending homes sales drop nationwide, recovery expected in 2011, November 5, 2010
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 24.5 24.6 24.7 24.8 US Government Spending, Florida State and Local Spending, 1992-2010
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 25.5 25.6 Iowa Workforce, Florida
  26. 26.00 26.01 26.02 26.03 26.04 26.05 26.06 26.07 26.08 26.09 26.10 26.11 26.12 26.13 "$2.8B Florida budget deficit plan gets final approval," January 15, 2009 (dead link)
  27. 27.0 27.1 The Voyager, College Media Network, State budget cuts continue, January 29, 2009
  28. 28.0 28.1 The Ledger, Schools Would Get Help, but Not Across the Board, February 17, 2009
  29. Wakulla County Real Estate, "Senate Budget Panel Questions Whether Crist Budget Plan was Feasible," March 9, 2009
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 "Gov. Charlie Crist opposes raid on Florida prepaid tuition assets," March 11, 2009
  31. Sun Sentinel, "Many Florida public agencies flunk simple open records test," November 28, 2008
  32. National Taxpayers Union, "A Letter to the Nation's Governors: Ensure Transparency and Accountability by Posting Stimulus Expenditures Online," March 10, 2009
  33. Wall Street Journal, "Stimulus Spending by State"
  34. 34.0 34.1 "Summertime Blues, 100 stimulus projects that give taxpayers the blues" August 2010
  35. $6.4 Billion Stimulus goes to Phantom Districts, Watchdog.org, November 17, 2009
  36. Stimulus Creates Jobs in Non-Existent Congressional Districts, Watchdog.org, November 16, 2009
  37. Florida, Watchdog.org, November 17, 2009
  38. Florida Senate, "Senate 1796: Relating to Governmental Financial Information," accessed June 16, 2009
  39. Office of the Governor, "Governor Crist's Bill Actions Today," May 27, 2009
  40. Florida's Checkbook
  41. Contract Search (timed out)
  42. Vendor Payment Search
  43. CAFR 2009
  44. Florida Financials
  45. National Taxpayers Union, "An Open Letter to the Florida House of Representatives: Taxpayers Support Online Spending Transparency (HB 181)," March 14, 2008