ATLANTA -- Gov. Lawton Chiles last week handed Florida a $29.1 billion budget proposal for fiscal 1993 that does not raise taxes, but he warned lawmakers in a letter that the bare-bones plan "will not meet Florida's needs."
The governor said he would soon submit a revised budget to provide more adequate funding for state programs.
"I am transmitting the [$29.1 billion] budget because the law requires me to submit a budget no later than 45 days prior to the regular legislative session," he said in the letter he sent to lawmakers on Nov. 25.
The budget "does not make the investments that our people deserve and that will be necessary to move us towards our goal of being a world-class state," he added. So, "I will shortly present another budget which details my investment strategy."
In outlining his plan to lawmakers last week, Gov. Chiles noted that the 1993 budget is $359 million lower than the fiscal 1992 budget adopted in May and would impose widespread cutbacks in state funding for education, corrections, and social services.
State officials attribute the falloff in anticipated revenues to the national recession, which, they say, has been particularly harmful to the tourism industry.
The governor has not said how much additional funding would be necessary in the revised budget plan, or where those funds would come from, Kathy Putman, a spokeswoman, said yesterday.
Ms. Putnam said the updated 1993 budget would not be submitted until after the start of this month's special legislative session, which begins Monday. She said the revised budget would be presented before the kickoff of the 1992 regular session on Jan. 14. The state's 1993 fiscal year begins July 1, 1992.
The 1993 budget will not be considered until the regular session. The special session will consider $622 million in spending cuts that Florida's seven-member cabinet had proposed to balance the state's budget in the current fiscal year. The special session is necessary because the Florida Supreme Court earlier this fall ruled that the cabinet, which includes the governor and other top statewide officials, cannot impose the cuts without legislative approval.
According to Mr. Chiles, the budget he proposed last week would eliminate 2,371 state jobs, end funding for new college students or newly constructed university facilities, and cut out staffing for 3,000 new prison beds. It also would pre-empt new funds for the Preservation 2000 program, a program targeting purchases of environmentally sensitive lands for which state officials had planned to sell about $300 million of bonds each year over a 10-year period.
Although many lawmakers fear the effects of such cutbacks, Gov. Chiles is sure to face difficulty getting the legislature to acquiesce to new taxes of fees, said one senator who declined to be identified.
"We are in the same boat a lot of states are in, but the situation is worse because we are growing faster than most," the senator said. "Everybody agrees that we need to spend more on education, prisons, and social services, but everybody is also scared to death to raise taxes after raising so much in the last two years.