The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Senate passes budget unanimously

31

March

The Florida Senate voted unanimously to approve its budget.

A few issues:

Bottom line: about $69.5 billion, about $2 billion more than the House.

Stimulus money: About $3 billion of Congressional Democratic largess is plowed into the Republican-crafted budget. The spending plan tentatively includes $880M more in extra Medicaid stimulus money, which Congress has yet to approve. This isn't in the House budget.

Gaming: $435 million for expanding gaming and a deal with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. This isn't in the House budget.

Medicaid: 16 lines of last-minute proviso language, never before debated or presented in the Legislature, could restructure Medicaid in a "transformative" fashion, according to sponsor Joe Negron.

Prisons: The private Blackwater prison will get more inmates, but two public prisons won't close (as had been previously proposed). Nor will about 2,000 prison guards lose their jobs.

Environment: Florida Forever gets a small $15 million, which is about $15 million more for land purchases than had been previously thought.

Marc Caputo, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

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[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 12:25pm]

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