At first glance it would appear the state's budget picture might improve next year.
The economy is growing, revenue is up and the state will receive nearly $1 billion in economic stimulus money from the federal government, but many still expect lawmakers to face a tough challenge in writing a balanced budget next spring.
That's because of the way lawmakers patched together the current $53 billion budget, which took effect July First.
Gov. Jeb Bush and the Republican-led House opposed any tax increases.
So, the Legislature used nearly $2 billion from non-recurring sources of revenue and trust funds to balance this year's budget. The use of that money is cause for concern.
Budget leaders say a lot depends on the economy, but they add next year could be as "bare-bones'' as this year.
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