Court revenue forecast is a cause for concern

It appears the courts will need another loan to make it through the fiscal year

Revenues for Florida’s courts will be lower than initially projected for the 2011-12 fiscal year, but how much lower was a point of contention at the Article V Revenue Estimating Conference September 12. The eventual consensus, however, showed that the courts will need another loan of state funds in the current fiscal year.

The courts began the year with a $54 million loan for the first three months because of the dramatic slowing in foreclosure filings. (The budget anticipates the courts will pay that loan back by the end of the fiscal year.)

Under the new estimates, the courts foresee a shortfall of around $108 million, which includes paying back the initial $54 million loan.

Officials from the Governor’s Office, the Economic and Demographic Research Office of the Legislature, legislative budget staffers, and the Office of the State Courts Administrator shared their economic projections and reached a consensus of what is likely to happen for the remainder of the year.

On most items, various officials were fairly close together on their projections. But on foreclosures — the largest source of funding for the courts — they were far apart.

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