Property value decline increases Fla. budget woes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A new estimate shows property values and the taxes they generate have dropped more than previously expected.

Senate Ways & Means Committee Chairman JD Alexander said Thursday that it will be even harder to close a budget gap between revenues and must-fund spending in the next state budget.

The gap currently is estimated at about $5 billion, but it's expected to widen when state economists issue a new general revenue estimate March 13.

Alexander, R-Lake Wales, says the decline in values will mean a loss of about $800 million in property taxes that go into the state's school funding system.

Gov. Charlie Crist's budget director, Jerry McDaniel, says federal stimulus money can be used to make up the difference.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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