TALLAHASSEE — As budget negotiations between the House and Senate appear stalled, and with just three weeks left until the scheduled end of the 60-day annual session, the Legislature shuts down Monday in observance of the Passover holiday.
House members are not expected to return to Tallahassee until Wednesday. The Senate will not reconvene until after Easter.
The break gives members of both chambers a chance to step back and regroup from budget negotiations that seem to have broken down.
At issue is reconciling the bottom-line number in the House and Senate spending plans. The chambers are about $4 billion apart, largely as the result of new accounting practices by the Senate. The Senate has included five water management districts, three local expressway authorities, employee health care costs and the budgets of all 67 elected county court clerks in its $70.1 billion budget.
The $66.5 billion House budget includes none of that.
Gov. Rick Scott, meanwhile, continues to push for a cut to the corporate income tax rate as well as cuts to local school property taxes. Those cuts have so far not been included in either the House or Senate plan.