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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Capitol Buzz: Five things to watch today in Tallahassee



The state budget becomes the focal point in the Florida Legislature today. Here's a look at five things we will be watching today.

* After a combined more than seven hours of debate on the proposed state budget on Wednesday, the House and Senate are back at it today working on very different proposals. The House has a $79.9 billion plan, compared to the Senate having a $81 billion plan. The House meets at 9 a.m. and the Senate at 1 p.m.

* After the budget vote, the House is expected to vote out a $1 billion tax cut package that would include reducing sales taxes on commercial rents. It also includes a 10-day sales tax break on back-to-school shopping, a day of sales tax free shopping for hunting and fishing equipment, and a one-day sales tax free shopping day at small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It doesn't include Gov. Rick Scott's top requests: elimination of corporate income taxes on manufacturers and retailers.

* Drivers licenses would be harder to suspend for non-driving offenses under a bill State Sen. Jeff Brandes will have up before the Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice starting at 10 a.m.. A Miami Herald investigation found that 77 percent of all license suspensions in Florida between 2012 and 2015 occurred because of a failure to pay fees.

* Gov. Rick Scott's new jobs chief Cissy Proctor faces her first confirmation hearing. Proctor, the executive director of the Department of Economic Opportunity, replaced Jesse Panuccio who frequently clashed with state legislators over jobs programs and the state's unemployment benefits system. Proctor faces the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development at 10 a.m.

* The Senate will discuss a House proposal that would limit construction spending for local school districts and give more local tax dollars to charter schools. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education meets at 10 a.m. to take up the proposal


[Last modified: Wednesday, February 10, 2016 8:21pm]


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