Economic report critical of further state budget cuts

12/01/08 Mitch E. Perry
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It’s now official. For nearly a year, the U.S. economy has been in a recession.

That announcement came today from the National Bureau of Economic Research, the agency body charged with making that declaration. It’s the first official recession since 2001. And it follows two negative reports produced today on the economy.

According to the Institution for Supply Management, the manufacturing industry suffered its worst month since 1982. Also, a separate report from the Commerce Department showed that spending on construction projects fell 1.2 percent in October, after staying unchanged in September. Private construction dropped 2 percent with a sharp drop in the residential sector.

Meanwhile, here in Florida, the economic conditions continue to worsen. The state faces a shortfall of more than $2 billion in this year’s budget, and when lawmakers convene for the next official session next spring, that will expand to $6 billion.

What legislators will do to address this is anybody’s guess. But one group today said to cut any more spending on social programs would "erode the capability of Florida’s state government to responsibly operate already under-funded programs at all."

That comes from a new report issued today by the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy . John Hall is the Executive Director of the group. The report says all options need to be put on the table by lawmakers in addressing Florida’s fiscal crises, and that includes raising taxes.

WMNF asked Hall if he thinks the Republican led leadership in Tallahassee is prepared to actually do that.

To read the full report, Florida’s Escalating Fiscal Crisis: The Problem, visit the Center’s website.

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