Florida legislators approve new budget forecast that raises questions about future spending

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TALLAHASSEE, Florida — A Florida legislative panel is signing off on a new budget forecast that raises questions about whether there will be enough money to meet the campaign promises of Gov. Rick Scott and rival Charlie Crist.

The forecast approved by the Legislative Budget Commission on Wednesday predicts Florida will bring in enough tax money in 2015 to meet its spending needs. That's because the state's economy continues to recover from the Great Recession.

The state's current budget is $77 billon. The new forecast projects a surplus of $336 million in fiscal year 2015-16 even after paying extra for schools and health care programs and putting $1 billion in reserves.

But that surplus appears to be smaller than what Scott is promising to spend on education and tax cuts. Crist has promised to restore education funding to pre-Recession levels.

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