Florida's economy is taking a hit because of the coronavirus, according to a revenue report released by the state Senate president on Friday.
Republican Senate President Bill Galvano sent a memo to senators saying the state’s revenue in the month of April was down about $780 million from what was originally predicted. That includes sales taxes that were about $695 million below predictions.
The Legislature approved a $93 billion budget in March, just as the state was shutting down due to the pandemic. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has until Tuesday to sign the budget for the fiscal year that begins Wednesday, and it’s expected he’s going to heavily use his power to veto individual items in the spending plan.
Still, Galvano expressed some optimism, saying that before the state shut down, revenues were higher than expected, the state has received a substantial amount of federal aid, and the emergency reserves are plentiful, which allowed the state to maintain its current budget.
“Together these factors created a substantial buffer and eliminated the need for us to make immediate cuts to the fiscal year 2019-2020 budget, giving us time to understand the economic impacts of the pandemic, and, in my view, now provide us with a certain level of cautious optimism as we head into the new fiscal year,” Galvano wrote. “However, the fact remains that myriad impacts of the coronavirus on our constituents and our economy have changed the budget landscape considerably since we passed our budget in late March.”