Florida will have $336 million surplus next year

State lawmakers will have about $336 million extra in the budget year that begins next July, according to a draft state report issued late Wednesday. The Long-Range Financial Outlook, an annual report, says that surplus takes into account the likelihood that the Legislature will continue to set aside $1 billion in reserves and spend money on other high-priority areas.

The report says lawmakers could use the surplus on programs or tax cuts that continue from one year to the next, but that doing so would have “a compounding effect over time” and leave less money for the Legislature to use in future years — though the state would never go into the red as long as it keeps the reserves steady. The report also says that Florida’s economy will likely continue to grow for the time being but is still trying to fully regain its footing.

“In the forecast, months of modest growth are expected before normalcy is largely achieved by Fiscal Year 2016-17 with construction and real estate still presenting notable exceptions,” it says.

The draft report is scheduled to be presented Wednesday to the Joint Legislative Budget Commission, a panel made up of House and Senate members.

-source: The News Service of Florida