Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa, Hillsborough make wish lists for Legislature

TAMPA — Economic development, preserving local ordinances and opposing attempts to increase the local share of Medicaid costs are at the top of Hillsborough County's wish list for the upcoming legislative session.

County commissioners compile a list annually of priorities they hope to accomplish at the state level. Other issues include affordable housing, transportation and animal services. This year's legislative session convenes in March and marks a return to its normal schedule after last year, when it began in January.

The point of the agenda is to draw attention to the causes most important to county residents, said Brandon Wagner, director of intergovernmental relations for the county. That's why economic development is at the top of the list.

"As we start to see an economic recovery, we see there are some opportunities to do some infrastructure development and to expand our economy," Wagner said.

Another big issue this year is preserving what the county has already worked toward.

In recent years, Hillsborough County became a hot spot for personal injury protection fraud and pain management clinics. Local ordinances cut down on both problems. Now the county would like legislators to change state statutes to safeguard those local rules.

"There have been challenges to those ordinances," Wagner said, "so we are talking to the state about ways we can protect those."

As for Medicaid, the county wants to keep an open dialogue on any state changes to Medicaid resulting from the federal Affordable Care Act, Wagner said. Officials also hope to oppose attempts to transfer or increase the county's cost to provide Medicaid.

The city of Tampa has its own wish list.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn would like to see the Legislature allow Florida's largest cities to opt out of the current requirement that sales tax referendums be countywide.

That would allow Tampa to take a second shot at the kind of transit tax proposal defeated in 2010 that could provide funding for light rail.

"We're not asking them to raise taxes," Buckhorn said. "We're just asking them to give our citizens the ability to choose what our future looks like."

The University of South Florida is hoping to get in on the action, too.

Items on its wish list include restoring a systemwide budget cut made last year, adding money and funding two capital projects, said Mark Walsh, USF's assistant vice president for government relations.

The school hopes to receive funding toward the construction of a building for St. Petersburg's College of Business, Walsh said, which is currently housed in several facilities, as well as continued funding for the Heart Institute on the Tampa campus.

Each agency is now working with legislators to see their plans through.

Response has been positive so far, Wagner said. At least one of Hillsborough County's items is already being addressed.

Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa, is working with County Commissioner Ken Hagan on a bill that would allow local governments' animal services agencies to share in the seized assets from animal abuse cases, such as the shutdown of illegal dogfighting rings.

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at srossetter@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3401.

Tampa, Hillsborough make wish lists for Legislature 02/17/13 [Last modified: Sunday, February 17, 2013 11:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Encounters: Trial by storm for a rookie principal

    K12

    DUNEDIN — When he nodded off to sleep, the hallway lights outside Michael Vasallo's office were on, so the sudden darkness woke him.

    The glow of his desk phone dimmed.

    Michael Vasallo, right, the first-year principal at Dunedin Highland Middle School, talks with the school's head plant operator Clint Case near the back-up generator on campus. The generator failed just as Hurricane Irma passed through Pinellas County, making for a stressful night. The experience made Vasallo long to return to his regular job, educating middle schoolers. [COLEEN WRIGHT   |   Times]


  2. Who is in charge during a hurricane? Hillsborough County and Tampa still can't agree

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — Who has the authority to order an evacuation during a hurricane?

    Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he has evacuation authority.
  3. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31

    Blogs

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  4. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win

    Blogs

    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season.
  5. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.