Standoff ends; legislators to start budget talks
After a brief standoff, the Florida House and Senate are ready to start budget negotiations. House Speaker Dean Cannon told members on Tuesday afternoon that the two chambers agree on bottom-line allocation numbers and public negotiations will start Tuesday evening. Cannon and Senate President Mike Haridopolos issued a joint statement that had a positive tone and was markedly different from senators' earlier rhetoric.
“Passing a balanced budget without raising taxes is an essential step toward achieving our mutual goal of providing predictability and stability to our state’s business owners and entrepreneurs in order to promote economic growth and job creation in our state,” Haridopolos said in a statement. “Today’s allocations are an important step towards accomplishing that goal, and I commend [Senate Budget] Chairman [JD] Alexander on his handling of the budget this year, and am grateful for the strong support the Senate has shown during this year’s budgeting process.”
“The individual budgets passed by the House and Senate and guided by Governor Scott’s recommendations were more similar than we’ve seen in many prior years,” Cannon said. “Guided by the goals that both chambers share, and thanks to the tireless work of Chairman Alexander and Chairman Grimsley, we were able to produce budget allocations that address a more than $1 billion shortfall, increase pre-K 12 education funding by more than $1 billion and set aside the ample reserves.”