state budget

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.

Gov. Scott Signs Florida Budget; Explains Vetoes

May 20, 2013
Tom Urban/News Service of Florida

Gov. Rick Scott signed the 2013-14 state budget into law today.

He also sent a letter to Secretary of State Ken Detzner explaining his decision to veto a tuition hike. “We are also holding the line on tuition by vetoing the Legislature’s recommended 3 percent tuition increase on our college and university students,” the governor wrote.

athrasher/flickr

Florida lawmakers are doing something they haven't done in years: adding money to state programs.

The recession sent the state into multi-billion-dollar budget shortfalls that led to big cuts in education and state government payrolls.

But this year, lawmakers have money to play with. Gov. Rick Scott has proposed a budget of more than $74 billion for the fiscal year that starts in July. That's about a $4-billion increase in spending over the current year.

So where did the extra money come from?

The Florida House has released its proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Speaker Will Weatherford says education was prioritized over everything else.

“The big winner is education,” Weatherford said. “We invested over a billion dollars into our K-12 education system from last year.”

He said that amounts to a 6.2 percent increase in overall education funding.

Weatherford said they created “a silo of funds” to be funneled down to the districts, including up to $676 million available for teacher pay.

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