Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

House passes $74.4 billion budget 99-17

TALLAHASSEE — With support from Democrats and Republicans, the House approved a $74.4 billion budget Friday that includes the first automatic pay raise in seven years for state employees, a more than $1 billion boost for K-12 education and $300 million in restored funding for state universities.

The budget passed 99-17, with a majority of Democrats joining Republicans. House and Senate leaders will begin merging their proposed spending plans next week.

"There was a question as to whether the budget would be bipartisan," said House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel. "I think with 99 votes it does show that (Republicans) did work hard to try to make this budget one that was bipartisan, and we're very proud of that."

The budget includes a $1.2 billion increase in transportation funding and a $1,000 automatic pay increase for state workers, which, while $400 lower than an earlier House budget proposal, helped win over Democrats.

With 25 of 44 House Democrats joining Republicans, the budget vote Friday is a victory for Weatherford, who has promised he would be more inclusive of the minority party.

At the same time, the vote highlights divisions among House Democrats over how much the expansion of Medicaid should sway votes.

Democrats had planned to oppose the Republican budget, even though they supported many things in it, because of the lack of a health care plan. That changed, however, when Republicans released a stripped-down proposal Thursday that did not include any federal money.

"When you have the highest budget in six or seven years that means there's money to go around to our core constituents," Minority Leader Perry Thurston, D-Plantation, said. The Republican plan "gave me an opportunity to take away the caucus position."

But the reversal also undermined arguments Democrats were making earlier in the week.

On Tuesday, Rep. Joe Gibbons, D-Hallandale Beach, urged Democrats to vote against the budget, suggesting that Weatherford's inclusion of Democrats was cosmetic. "They've been saying that they're working with us," he said. "And they have, just not all the way."

On Friday, Gibbons voted for the budget.

Gibbons said he voted "yes" on the budget because as the highest ranking Democrat on the House budget committee he wants to stay in position to push for Medicaid expansion.

"I want to stay engaged, and I felt that by voting for it I can be more engaged than if I vote against it," Gibbons said. "It's the bigger picture."

Members such as Rep. Mark Danish, D-Tampa, said he struggled with his party's earlier stance.

"People in my district want someone who thinks more in terms of what they want back home and that's what I need to consider," Danish, whose district covers New Tampa, said on Tuesday. "It's a very middle-of-the-road district."

On Friday, after voting yes for the budget, he was all smiles.

"It's a good budget," he said. "There's a lot of pluses. Transportation, education, in many areas, it's good. I'm hoping because we said yes, we'll have room in negotiations that are coming up."

Times/Herald staff writer Tia Mitchell contributed to this report.

House passes $74.4 billion budget 99-17 04/12/13 [Last modified: Friday, April 12, 2013 8:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  2. Review: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw shower love, star power on Tampa's Amalie Arena

    Blogs

    Near the end of their potent new duet Break First, Tim McGraw stopped singing, and let Faith Hill's powerhouse voice take over.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Oct. 20, 2017.
  3. Senate to take up AUMF debate as Trump defends reaction to Niger attack

    World

    WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is taking up a long-awaited debate about authorizing military force against the Islamic State as President Trump comes under unprecedented public scrutiny for his treatment of dead soldiers' families, following an ambush on troops helping to fight Islamic …

  4. In fear and vigilance, a Tampa neighborhood holds its breath

    K12

    TAMPA — There was a time, not long ago, when Wayne Capaz would go for a stroll at night and Christina Rodriguez would shop whenever she wanted. Michael Fuller would go to his night job as a line cook, not too worried about his wife at home.

    More than 50 people gathered and walked in the Southeast Seminole Heights community Friday to pay respects to the victims of three shootings. The crowd took a moment of silence at the corner of 11th Street and East New Orleans where Monica Hoffa was found dead. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  5. Fennelly: What's not to like about Lightning's start?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — No one is engraving the Stanley Cup. No one has begun stuffing the league MVP ballot box for Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning, with a win tonight, would match the best start in franchise history, 7-1-1 in the 2003-04 Cup season.