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.