As most would suspect, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended state revenues, and at this time it is unknown what, specifically, the impact to them will be for Fiscal Year 2021 and beyond.

That said, we were able to close out Fiscal Year 2020 General Fund without dipping into our reserves.  While, ultimately, we were $51 million short, the state used a short-term internal loan from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) to cover that shortfall.  And those funds were repaid on July 27th due to relatively strong tax receipts at that time.

With regard to the FY 2020 Transportation Fund, though, the revenues were ultimately $20.4 million under the projections.

And the Education Fund came in at $21.3 below the January forecast.

The current Fiscal Year 2021, however, is where we are now focused.

By Tuesday, August 18, 2020, Governor Scott will present to the Legislature his proposed FY 2021 Budget for the remainder of year.  It is at that time we will know better the revenues coming in and the projections thru the year.

In the meantime, there is bad news on the Education Fund front, in that at this time, there is expected to be a $92 million deficit in that fund in FY 2021.  So this will be something we will have to address in the upcoming session as well.

With regard to my philosophy on state spending and budget in general, I was pleased to be able to support the State Budgets each of the last four years.  In my view, unlike in prior years, the last four budgets were relatively responsible - making some small investments where needed, while protecting the most vulnerable.

Indeed, if it had been solely up to me, I would have made some different spending decisions through the years (increased investment in tourism promotion, for example).  But, the development of a State Budget is a collaborative process with a great deal of give and take.  And, in the end, I did believe in each of the last four years, that we had a sound, sustainable budget in front of us.

While I am very hopeful that this trend of responsible, sustainable state spending continues, I am concerned that the louder and louder calls for increased spending and new state programs, especially as a response to the impact of COVID-19, will start to gain traction.

Rest assured, I will continue to do all I can to ensure the continuation of the sustainable spending/spending within our means trend that have recently maintained.