Dear Larry (Cretul): Open up the budget
UPDATE: 11:10 a.m. Cretul responds: “This year we are conducting the most open budgeting process that the House has ever seen. Each member has been encouraged to go line-by-line through the budget and has had the opportunity to review each and every dollar spent by state government. On the revenue side, we have also given every member the opportunity that Democratic members have requested for years- the opportunity to review each and every sales tax exemption on the books. In fact, of the 51 exemptions chosen by Council members for review, 45 of them came solely from Democrats. Once again, we urge Leader Sands, and his members , to bring forward their constructive ideas for how to balance the budget during these very difficult economic times.”
House Democratic Leader Franklin Sands sent a letter to Speaker Larry Cretul this morning urging him to conduct open budget discussions and suggesting that Democrats have already been shut out.
"The Florida House Democratic Caucus has sought the ability to participate in these decisions. Our requests have been repeatedly rejected. In recent days, we have been told again that we will be not allowed opportunities to fully participate in the state budget-writing process. This is a disappointment that I hope you can rectify. ...
"We recommend that the Florida House next week holds full and open hearings of the combined appropriations councils and the House Finance & Taxation Council to discuss these important financial decisions of our state. Waiting any longer to hold hearings that involve members of the Legislature from both political parties with public participation would be a wasteful exercise and a disservice to the public."
Where Sands got this impression is unclear right now. He and Cretul have had several conversations and met face to face earlier this week.