Focus Shifts to COVID-19 in Final Days of FL Legislature

Date: March 19, 2020

The state Legislature ended its 2020 session today following a one-week extension to hammer out a budget that allowed the state to address the COVID-19 crisis.

By law, Florida is barred from deficit spending, so the theme of this year’s session quickly became conservation of revenue.

Early on, we made significant progress on tax cuts and tort reform, but those issues were put on the back burner as the focus of this year’s session shifting to the state’s COVID-19 response.

Lawmakers originally looked at $200 million in tax cuts but reduced that to under $50 million while allocating $300 million toward the state’s coronavirus response. The Legislature passed a $92 billion spending plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The spending plan passed by the Legislature was based on revenue estimates from before the onset of the pandemic. With the virus taking a financial toll on travel, restaurants, retail, and other sectors, it’s expected that lawmakers will be forced to return to Tallahassee to make adjustments — possibly before the start of the next fiscal year.

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