Sen. JD Alexander chides Sen. Mike Fasano (again)
The animosity between Sen. JD Alexander and Sen. Mike Fasano is no secret in the state Capitol, and it flared anew Thursday when Alexander learned that Fasano won't let state agencies publicly discuss their proposed 10-percent budget cuts.
"Senator Fasano doesn't have that authority," Alexander said. "He might not want to hear them but I do."
The 10-percent budget-cutting exercise is a worst-case scenario legislators use to force agencies to sharpen their pencils and be prepared for very deep cuts.
Fasano chairs a Senate budget subcommittee on civil and criminal justice spending, which includes the courts, FDLE, prisons, juvenile justice, the Parole Commission and attorney general's office. At Thursday's hearing, Fasano refused to let agency officials present their 10-percent reduction plans.
"We don't need to talk about them," Fasano told one agency official. He said later that the 10-percent exercise was a "formality" in which agencies recommend outlandish and politically unpopular reductions simply to appease lawmakers. Last year, Alexander and Fasano clashed repeatedly over their opposite views on prison privatization plans.