PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)–As the coronavirus continues to hurt the economy, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, is calling on Governor Ron DeSantis and his team to revisit the state’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The CFO says he’s deeply concerned about the tremendous impact COVID-19 will have on the state’s finances.
CFO Patronis wants to make sure no deficits occur across state funds.
“I was here when the collapse happened last time and I don’t want to dig us out of that mess again. Been there, done that, learned from it. And I know as much money as we can hold onto, that much quicker we recover from this challenge,” Patronis said.
Patronis is asking the Governor to reconvene the Revenue Estimating Conference; the group of individuals responsible for determining the state’s budget each fiscal year.
“You know they only meet quarterly, so the speaker has reflected that he feels like they need to meet monthly now, I assume they just meet as soon as humanly possible,” Patronis said.
While the Revenue Estimating Conference did set aside 300 million dollars to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, Patronis thinks more needs to be done.
“All I’m thinking is you know what, what can be prioritized for next year, can be prioritized again for next year, let’s hold onto the resources we’ve got right now,” Patronis said.
The budget was finalized just two weeks ago but the Governor has yet to sign it. Patronis says it’s clear a lot has already changed and believes adjusting the budget is crucial to keeping the state afloat.
“The more money that we can have held in savings in the state that doesn’t get spent this particular budget cycle will help when we have to recover from this storm,” Patronis said.
Patronis says the current budget for fiscal year 2019-2020 is also likely to be impacted by the mass shutdown and closures forced by the pandemic.