House proposes $300 million cut to Florida's university system
It was a deal killer when the House offered $200 million permanent cuts to Florida's university system. So House Speaker Dean Cannon agreed to drop it on Tuesday.
In an offer announced this morning, the new House deal on the table to the Senate is a one-time cut of $300 million. That's about $100 million less than the one-time cut proposed by the Senate.
The Senate will consider the proposal and reply during a 6:15 p.m. Conference Committee on Higher Education Appropriations tonight.
"What we don't know yet is how they will spread the $300 million," said Mark Walsh, a lobbyist for the University of South Florida, which has had to fend off disproportionate cuts that many said were proposed after the university resisted efforts to break off USF-Polytechnic and make it the state's 12th university.
Senate Budget Chairman JD Alexander is pushing for USF-Poly's independence. He said the House's recurring cuts of $200 million were unacceptable.
Not addressed yet by the House is the USF-Poly issue. Last week the Senate voted 35-4 to make the campus independent. It's still unclear what that would cost.
"It's going to be an issue they'll have to work out," Walsh said.