Section 216.221, Florida Statutes 2001
216.221 Appropriations as maximum appropriations; adjustment of budgets to avoid or eliminate deficits.--
(1) All appropriations shall be maximum appropriations, based upon the collection of sufficient revenues to meet and provide for such appropriations. It is the duty of the Governor, as chief budget officer, to ensure that revenues collected will be sufficient to meet the appropriations and that no deficit occurs in any state fund.
(2) The Legislature may annually provide direction in the General Appropriations Act regarding use of the Budget Stabilization Fund and Working Capital Fund to offset General Revenue Fund deficits.
(3) For purposes of preventing a deficit in the General Revenue Fund, all branches and agencies of government that receive General Revenue Fund appropriations shall participate in deficit reduction efforts. Absent specific direction in the General Appropriations Act, when budget reductions are required in order to prevent a deficit under the provisions of subsection (7), each branch shall reduce its General Revenue Fund appropriations by a proportional amount.
(4) For purposes of preventing a deficit in the General Revenue Fund, appropriations to the legislative branch that are voluntarily placed in their reserve by the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives, or by both, may not be reduced, but may be included in any deficit reduction plan.
(5)(a) If, in the opinion of the Governor, after consultation with the Revenue Estimating Conference, a deficit will occur in the General Revenue Fund, he or she shall so certify to the commission and to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. No more than 30 days after certifying that a deficit will occur in the General Revenue Fund, the Governor shall develop for the executive branch, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall develop for the judicial branch, and provide to the commission and to the Legislature plans of action to eliminate the deficit.
(b) In developing a plan of action to prevent deficits in accordance with subsection (7), the Governor and Chief Justice shall, to the extent possible, preserve legislative policy and intent, and, absent any specific direction to the contrary in the General Appropriations Act, the Governor and Chief Justice shall comply with the following guidelines for reductions in the approved operating budgets of the executive branch and the judicial branch:
1. Entire statewide programs previously established by the Legislature should not be eliminated.
2. Education budgets should not be reduced more than provided for in s. 215.16(2).
3. The use of nonrecurring funds to solve recurring deficits should be minimized.
4. Newly created programs that are not fully implemented and programs with critical audits should receive first consideration for reductions.
5. No agencies or branches of government receiving appropriations should be exempt from reductions.
6. When reductions in positions are required, the focus should be initially on vacant positions.
7. Any reductions applied to all agencies and branches should be uniformly applied.
8. Reductions that would cause substantial losses of federal funds should be minimized.
9. To the greatest extent possible, across-the-board, prorated reductions should be considered.
10. Reductions to statewide programs should occur only after review of programs that provide only local benefits.
11. Reductions in administrative and support functions should be considered before reductions in direct-support services.
12. Maximum reductions should be considered in budgets for expenses including travel and in budgets for equipment replacement, outside consultants, and contracts.
13. Reductions in salaries for elected state officials should be considered.
14. Reductions that adversely affect the public health, safety, and welfare should be minimized.
15. The Budget Stabilization Fund should not be reduced to a level that would impair the financial stability of this state.
16. Reductions in programs that are traditionally funded by the private sector and that may be assumed by private enterprise should be considered.
17. Reductions in programs that are duplicated among state agencies or branches of government should be considered.
(6) If the Revenue Estimating Conference projects a deficit in the General Revenue Fund in excess of 1.5 percent of the moneys appropriated from the General Revenue Fund during a fiscal year or when the cumulative total of a series of projected deficits in the General Revenue Fund exceeds 1.5 percent of the moneys appropriated from the General Revenue Fund, the deficit shall be resolved by the Legislature.
(7) Deficits in the General Revenue Fund that do not meet the amounts specified by subsection (6) shall be resolved by the commission for the executive branch and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for the judicial branch. The commission and Chief Justice shall implement any directions provided in the General Appropriations Act related to eliminating deficits and to reducing agency and judicial branch budgets, including the use of those legislative appropriations voluntarily placed in reserve. In addition, the commission shall implement any directions in the General Appropriations Act relating to the resolution of deficit situations. When reducing state agency or judicial branch budgets, the commission or the Chief Justice, respectively, shall use the guidelines prescribed in subsection (5). The Executive Office of the Governor for the commission, and the Chief Justice for the judicial branch, shall implement the deficit reduction plans through amendments to the approved operating budgets in accordance with s. 216.181.
(8) The Comptroller also has the duty to ensure that revenues being collected will be sufficient to meet the appropriations and that no deficit occurs in any fund of the state.
(9) If, in the opinion of the Comptroller, after consultation with the Revenue Estimating Conference, a deficit will occur, the Comptroller shall report his or her opinion to the Governor in writing. In the event the Governor does not certify a deficit within 10 days after the Comptroller's report, the Comptroller shall report his or her findings and opinion to the commission and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
(10) When advised by the Revenue Estimating Conference, the Comptroller, or any agency responsible for a trust fund that a deficit will occur with respect to the appropriations from a specific trust fund in the current fiscal year, the Governor for the executive branch, or the Chief Justice for the judicial branch, shall develop a plan of action to eliminate the deficit. Before implementing the plan of action, the Governor or the Chief Justice must comply with the provisions of s. 216.177(2). In developing the plan of action, the Governor or the Chief Justice shall, to the extent possible, preserve legislative policy and intent, and, absent any specific directions to the contrary in the General Appropriations Act, any reductions in appropriations from the trust fund for the fiscal year shall be prorated among the specific appropriations made from the trust fund for the current fiscal year.
(11) Once a deficit is determined to have occurred and action is taken to reduce approved operating budgets and release authority, no action may be taken to restore the reductions, either directly or indirectly.
History.--s. 31, ch. 69-106; s. 14, ch. 71-354; s. 18, ch. 83-49; s. 21, ch. 91-109; s. 64, ch. 92-142; s. 1170, ch. 95-147; s. 13, ch. 98-73; s. 30, ch. 2000-371; s. 12, ch. 2001-56.