Florida budget surplus wiped out by Hurricane Irma

A street is flooded near the ocean after Hurricane Irma passed through Naples, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Florida’s projected budget surplus for the coming year has been wiped out by mounting costs for Hurricane Irma.

That was the assessment given Friday by a top economist who works for the Florida Legislature.

Lawmakers are required each September to adopt a new financial outlook for the next three years. Before the storm hit, that outlook projected a $52 million cushion for the fiscal year starts in July 2018.

Florida’s overall budget this year, which includes state tax dollars and federal aid, is nearly $85 billion.

The state has already spent $275 million dealing with the massive storm. Some of that money, however, will likely be reimbursed by the federal government.

Florida’s budget woes may not require cuts. But it could force the state to reconsider future tax cuts and increases in such areas as higher education.

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