state budget

Kate Stein / WLRN

Florida Gov. Rick Scott was in Miami on Wednesday to tout the $10 billion  in transportation spending he’s included in his proposed budget for 2017-2018.

 

The governor spoke at PortMiami surrounded by dozens of orange-vested workers -- some of the more than 200-thousand employees he said the port supports.

 

Tom Hudson

As the 2017 state legislative session approaches, lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott already have been talking about their shopping lists of new ideas about how to spend taxpayers' money. There’s a laundry list of big issues legislators will need to address during their session: the death penalty, concealed carry, gambling. But there is no larger issue than the budget. It’s an $82 billion-plus document that dictates how the state spends money.

data: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research (Dec. 15, 2016)

The Florida economy may be humming along, but there is a budget problem looming for state lawmakers. In about a year and a half, the state is forecast to see a $1 billion difference between what it collects in taxes and fees and what it spends.That is a $1.3 billion budget hole. Legislators will start tackling the anticipated budget shortfall in their next session before the red ink starts.

Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority

The Florida Keys rely on the state for help with big-ticket environmental projects like central sewers and buying land. The island chain is an Area of Critical State Concern and is under a state mandate to clean up nearshore waters by replacing septic systems and cesspits.

Wikimedia / Illustration by Maria Murriel

The regular session of the Florida Legislature came to an abrupt end in late April as the House disagreed with the Senate over Medicaid expansion. The Senate wants to use federal dollars for expansion, while the House and Gov. Rick Scott want no expansion.

Lawmakers returned to Tallahassee last week for a special session to finish work on their one required duty: creating a state budget that goes into effect July 1.

myfloridahouse.gov

The Florida Supreme Court has sided with the House of Representatives in a lawsuit filed by Florida Senate Democrats. The House left Tallahassee three days before the scheduled end of session because no agreement could be reached on a budget. 

Democrats in the Senate wanted the court to force House members back to Tallahassee for more session work, but the court denied the motion.

Rick Stone

For a lot of Florida voters and a lot of environmentalists, one of the big disappointments of this chaotic legislative session is the apparent fate of Amendment 1. That's the ballot initiative that makes three-quarters of a billion dollars available every year to buy and protect sensitive lands. But it's a shopping trip the Legislature doesn't feel like making.

Sammy Mack

  This week on the Florida Roundup, we discuss the week's news with the area's top journalists.

LEGISLATIVE SESSION

JD Hancock / Flickr

School districts would have to share local school construction and maintenance money with charter schools, according to an amendment filed by an influential state senator.

Sen. Don Gaetz, former Senate president, filed the amendment Tuesday. The amendment would require half of the money raised by an optional local property tax to be split between charter and traditional schools on a per-student basis.

Emma_L_M/flickr

Florida voters will decide whether environmental preservation becomes part of the state Constitution. Amendment 1 is a citizens’ initiative born from nearly a million petition signatures.

Florida Turnpike

Miami-Dade County is eligible for more money than any other county in the state budget -- $1.8 billion. That makes the county more susceptible to budget vetoes before the budget goes into effect in July.

The Florida Legislature handed Gov. Rick Scott a record election-year budget of $77.1 billion. Scott has the final say over the budget and can cut funding for programs at will. Miami-Dade has more line items in the budget than any other county, but all of them could be slashed with the veto pen.

Fort Lauderdale Children's Theatre

The Actors' Playhouse executive director Barbara Stein says most of the Coral Gables theater's paid performers are from South Florida.

“We hire some people out of New York, too, but our goal is to hire as many capable and qualified for each production Florida based actors that we can,” Stein says.

Gina Jordan/WLRN

March 4 marks the start of the 2014 Florida Legislative session at the Capitol. It runs through May 2.

For two months, lawmakers will consider proposed legislation on everything from marijuana to red-light cameras.

All they really have to do is come up with a spending plan for the fiscal year that begins in July.  Gov. Rick Scott is recommending half a billion dollars in tax and fee cuts.

Jordan Michael/WLRN

Florida TaxWatch, a nonprofit government watchdog group, is out with its annual list of ways the state can cut costs and be more efficient -- without cutting services.

The report, called Modern Management & Sensible Savings, found $1.2 billion that could potentially be returned to state coffers. Lawmakers could act on the recommendations when they convene for the annual legislative session next spring.

C. DiMattei

“It’s your money, it’s no one else’s money," said Governor Rick Scott to an audience at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. “So we have to spend it in a manner that makes sense.”

The governor launched his “It’s Your Money” tour in West Palm Beach on Tuesday, just days after announcing his plans to cut taxes and fees by $500 million in the 2014 proposed budget.

The governor’s office says the tour offers a chance for Floridians to discuss taxes they want to see reduced.

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