Next year?

Published: Sunday, January 26, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 25, 2003 at 10:11 p.m.
Despite a revenue shortage and his proposed Draconian budget cuts, Gov. Jeb Bush remains steadfast against any new or expanded state taxes (although he seems willing to see local taxes raised) and wants to continue phasing out the state intangibles tax.
He even wants to reinstate the annual sales tax "holiday" on the purchase of clothing during back-to-school season and to expand it to cover the purchase of books for a full month at a cost of $59 million - a nice idea but a dubious use of scarce dollars.
And he says the budget picture will be even worse next year. "All bets are off," is the way he phrased it. That's because he would use up most available money from trust funds and reserves this year. Next year, with greater money demands from the classroom-size amendment and other constitutional mandates, he would have very little flexibility.
House Speaker Johnnie Byrd, R-Plant City, agrees with Bush, but Senate President King has promised to look at all alternatives, including taxes, before the Senate decides what kind of budget it will approve.
It's best to check those options out this year, while some flexibility remains. Next year could be too late.

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