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New House speaker paying new aides hefty wages

House Speaker Marco Rubio, whose new book faults government for spending too much money, has created new high-paying jobs for two Republican allies.

Rubio hired Gov. Jeb Bush's former budget director, Donna Arduin, as a $10,000-a-month consultant. She starts today.

A former House member, Republican Ken Sorensen of Key Largo, started three weeks ago at a salary of $100,008. Sorensen, 72, is a full-time senior staff director helping freshman lawmakers learn the ropes.

Rubio's spokesman, Jose Fuentes, defended the hires at a time when there are 36 new members in the House.

"It's vitally important to have such knowledgeable individuals helping members understand the budget process better than anybody else," Fuentes said.

Rubio's book, 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future, faults steady growth in the size of government. "Governmental entities can too easily increase taxes and spending," it says.

Rubio was at a retreat with House members Thursday and did not respond to requests for comment.

Arduin, 43, is a fiscal conservative who favors smaller government and lower taxes. As Bush's first budget director, she championed a leaner state bureaucracy and limits on lawmakers' hometown projects.

Rubio hired a second ex-lawmaker, Democrat Ron Greenstein, as a part-time adviser on budget issues. Greenstein, 55, of Coconut Creek will earn $25,000 over six months.

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