by David Chapman
Members of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Downtown and Arlington councils heard Tuesday from two insiders about the difficulties and results of budgets at the state and local levels.
State Sen. John Thrasher told the group of around 75 about the difficult cuts needed to balance a state budget during the spring’s legislative session with a then-$4 billion deficit.
“We were all in the middle of an incredible recession,” he told the group, meeting for breakfast at The University Club.
“Any time you start to cut, then the world starts coming through your front door,” he said later.
Thrasher also talked about the redistricting efforts under way at the state level and its importance while also touching on $10 million in St. Johns River funding, which Gov. Rick Scott vetoed in the final budget.
“Next year,” he said of funding the river, “I promise you.”
Audrey Moran, who served as co-chair of Mayor Alvin Brown’s transition committee, told the group about former Mayor John Peyton’s efforts to help the transition.
She said those efforts allowed Brown’s team to concentrate on submitting a budget this past Friday, as required. Brown took office July 1 and had about two weeks to present the budget, which City Council will review. A budget must be passed by the start of the fiscal year Oct. 1.
“No new taxes, no new fees,” she said. “This budget keeps that promise. Now the work begins.”