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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Senate passes budget 32-8 after King warns Dems: If you vote no, then 'shame on you'

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In a tense moment, Sen. Jim King, R- Jacksonville, sharply criticizes Democrats for voting against the state budget, which passed Friday on a 32-8 vote.

The Senate just voted 32-8 for the $66.5 billion budget, with Valrico Sen. Ronda Storms the lone Republican voting no: Storms joined Democrats Nan Rich, Eleanor Sobel, Arthenia Joyner, Charlie Justice, Dan Gelber, Ted Deutch, and Dave Aronberg.

"It is a mistake to fund our budget with gambling money," Storms said.

As the Senate prepared to vote on the 2009-10 budget, and as Democrats including Frederica Wilson and Larcenia Bullard faulted Senate leaders for giving in to House demands. Republicans Sen. Jim King and budget chairman Sen. J.D. Alexander had stern words, which were enough to sway some Democrats who had previously taken a caucus position against the budget.

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Left to Right: Sen J. D. Alexander,  R- Lake Wales, Senate Budget Chairman, is congratulated by Sen Mike Haridopolos, R- Melbourne, after the Senate passed the state budget.

King: "Now we're sitting here with a budget that noone has to be embarassed about. It's amazing what has been done w the money we have. House members consistently gave up their positions. They went from way over here to way over there, and it was because our leadership gave them the reasons why they should comply with what the Senate does.

If you vote agains this, why would this president (Jeff Atwater) or any other presiding officer in the future want to include you? What kind of message is that? Think long and hard, gentlemen and ladies, before you cast that red vote. No one could have been more dedicated that he wanted everyone involved. The last two days of the (regular) session, I was there when he tried to accomodate everyone's wishes, and most of them were Democrats. If what he gets for that is everybody's negative vote who's a Democrat, then shame on you."

Alexander pointed out that the House wanted $400-million in cuts to state universities, "and we would up with $110-million. They wanted $380-million in cuts to community colleges. We wound up with $35-million. I guess they beat us there, huh?" he asked sarcastically. "They wanted $240-million in pay cuts. We came out with $30-million."

Since Easter Sunday, I've been here 18 hours a day. We did our God...our best."

Times Photos by Scott Keeler

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 6:59pm]

    

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