In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses Florida’s general revenue estimate for Florida, which projects what the sales and use tax revenues will be. The latest forecast from state economists shows an increase o f$300 million relative to the summer projection.
Harper says it means the economy is healthier, which means sales revenues are up clearing the way for more tax cuts or more spending on needed program areas. In this case, Governor Rick Scott has indicated plans for a package of about $500,000 in tax cuts, with most of that coming from automobile registration fees.
In terms of jobless claims, Harper says the figure this week was about 368,000, which is a little higher than expected nationally. But, he says on the flip side, retail sales were up. Overall, the reports are showing that the economy continues to grind along.
Finally, recessionary jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed are set to expire on December 28. Harper weighs in on the expected lapse, as members of Congress appear likely to adjourn for the Christmas holidays without a deal. An estimated 1.3 million people would be affected. The Congressional Budget Office projects that extended the benefits would cost over $26 million over two years.
Dr. Rick Harper is Director of the University of West Florida Office of Economic Development and Engagement. He’s currently serving as Senior Economic Policy Advisor to the Florida Senate.