Juvenile justice funding becomes latest state budget dispute
An article in Friday's paper outlines the budget dispute between counties and the state over juvenile justice costs and how the Legislature is being asked to find a solution:
For years, county officials say, they've had to shoulder too much of the cost of dealing with young offenders. In recent years, they say, the state has erroneously billed them $140 million for juvenile justice costs, sparking legal action.
Now, with the annual legislative session drawing to a close, the costs are at the center of the latest budget dispute.
Lawmakers have proposed a new funding formula that counties agree would avoid future billing disputes. But only the House proposal, HB 5305, also reimburses counties for previous overpayments through small annual installments.
Counties — especially large urban centers that are bearing the brunt of costs — are hoping the Senate will embrace the House plan during budget negotiations that begin when lawmakers return Monday.
"When the state overbills us over $14 million (over several years), we need to be compensated," said Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman.