State budget agreement reached
Rep. Ray Sansom, R-Destin, left, and Sen. Lisa Carlton, R-Osprey [Steve Bousquet, Times]
Two key lawmakers quietly and efficiently settled a series of unresolved budget issues Sunday afternoon to keep the scheduled adjournment of the 2008 session on track for next Friday.
Among the issues resolved by Rep. Ray Sansom and Sen. Lisa Carlton were a 5-percent pay raise for state troopers in an effort to stem the high rate of turnover in the FHP; a 5-percent pay cut for members of the Legislature; an additional $55-million in Lawton Chiles health-care endowment money for health clinics and senior centers; a reduction of 199 probation officers in the prison system; a $164-million rate reduction to nursing homes; and a last-minute $7.5-million cost-of-living boost to the school system in one county, Miami-Dade, home of House Speaker Marco Rubio.
The budget that awaits floor votes includes no raise for state workers; no new money for Everglades restoration; a 6-percent tuition increase for community college and university students and an estimated $110-million in new fees, most of them in the court system, but no new taxes.