As the COVID vaccine rolls out, Florida Cabinet meets facing difficult budget choices

As the COVID vaccine rolls out, Florida Cabinet meets facing difficult budget choices

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A day after the first COVID-19 vaccines went out across Florida, the Florida Cabinet met Tuesday morning to get an update on the state of the state.

A governing body composed of the offices of the Attorney General, Agriculture Commissioner, and Chief Financial Officer, the cabinet received some much-needed good news about the vaccine, just weeks after learning Florida is facing a 5-billion dollar budget hole.

READ: Stimulus check update: Latest plan splits package in two; unemployment help included, check is not

Content Continues Below

“It’s super positive obviously,” said the Chief of the Florida State Board of Administration, Ash Williams. “The markets have rocketed on the strength of the vaccine.”

Williams told the cabinet that the distribution of a vaccine in Florida, and across the country, provides stability that’s been missing since the spring.

“From a market standpoint, longer term, there is no question that the vaccine is great, great news,” Williams says.

For a state like Florida, which relies heavily on tourism and sales tax dollars, the sooner a vaccine is available to the general public, the sooner the economy could return to normal.

While the vaccine does provide a light at the end of the tunnel, the state will still face some difficult budget decisions in the meantime.

Lawmakers have already hinted at cuts to higher education, and K through 12 education in the coming year.

How deep those cuts are, and for how long, will largely depend on how soon life gets back to normal.