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House starts pushing bills through to meet Friday deadline

By BY MARY ELLEN KLAS

Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau

TALLAHASSEE -- Senators will hear the first round of budget numbers needed for their spending calculations Wednesday while the House has packed several committee meetings with dozens of bills designed to get them heard before a Friday deadline.

The Senate Regulated Industries Committee hears a gambling expansion plan designed to provide more money and offset some of the deepest budget cuts. The bills would revive the gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida to give competing race tracks throughout the state additional gambling options and raise $1 billion in new revenue for the state.

The Senate also takes up legislation to increase university tuition, and a plan to allow those increased hikes to be calculated outside of the Bright Futures scholarships.

The House Economic Development Council hears several bills designed to give voters new tax options. One would provide a rigid revenue cap for the state and others would reduce property taxes for first time homebuyers and impose an assessment cap on commercial and non-homestead property.

Other House committees hear proposed amendments on class size and a measure to remove the provision designed to equalize the Save Our Homes property tax advantage that long-time homeowners enjoy. House bills that haven't had their first hearing by Friday will no longer be considered this session.

Mary Ellen Klas can be reached at meklas@MiamiHerald.com

House starts pushing bills through to meet Friday deadline 03/25/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 8:53pm]
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