Hillsborough facing $100M deficit next fiscal year

03/18/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

The budget director for Hillsborough County said today the County is looking at a $100 million-plus deficit next fiscal year.

Eric Johnson said that based on lower property tax rolls, the county had been anticipating a 6½ percent reduction in revenues later this year. But he said more recent economic news has virtually doubled that reduction to 13 percent. And Johnson said economic projections indicate the County will not see 5 percent growth in property taxes for at least the next five years.

He said community investment and gas taxes are down this year, but the communication tax is up. However, the tourist tax has received the sharpest declines this year.

Johnson says that some objectives the county has set forward in its strategic plan need to be revisited because of the continuing economic slump.

Commissioner Mark Sharpe said that the economic crises means the county must rethink how it does business.

But both Sharpe and Commissioner Jim Norman said they were excited that once the recession ends, the county will resist temptations to spend a lot of money, unlike other parts of the state. That’s because Hillsborough has already approved a cap on growth at 3 percent.

Johnson said Florida will see a rebound of sales taxes once the recession ends, but Hillsborough won’t see as much relief until the housing cycle rebounds.

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