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2015-16 state budget

Gov. Scott vetoes water projects, firefighter pay increases

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Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday vetoed more than $87 million in environmental spending including $27.3 million for suspect “dispersed” water projects. Scott vetoed $461.3 million in spending from a budget of more than $78 billion. While highlighting tax cuts and spending to bring more jobs to Florida, the governor said the 2015-16 state budget provides for springs protection, Everglades restoration and land acquisition. “We are doing the right thing for our environment,” Scott said. He also vetoed more than $29…

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Dry cleaning, hazardous waste sites among those falling through budget cracks, group says

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With the focus on big-spending items in the House and Senate budgets this week, some smaller but important spending issues are going unnoticed. For example, the proposed House and Senate budgets each contain $6.5 million for dry-cleaning sites and $3.5 million for cleaning up hazardous waste sites. But site cleanup professionals say more is needed. “That (funding) doesn’t help with the dilemma or potential crisis we are facing,” said Phil Leary, a lobbyist for the Florida Ground Water Association. “Its almost like they…

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With Senate budget amendments teed up, calls flood senators

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Amendment 1 supporters on Tuesday were flooding senators with calls urging them to support funding for land-buying in advance of Senate floor action on the state budget on Wednesday. In November, 75 percent of voters statewide supported the water and land conservation funding initiative that provides an estimated $741 million in the 2015-16 state budget. The proposed Senate budget provides $2 million for the Florida Forever land-buying program and another $20 million for land acquisition for Kissimmee River restoration. On…

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Arthenia Joyner filing budget amendment to boost land-buying

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State Sen. Arthenia Joyner of Tampa, the Senate Democratic leader, is filing a budget amendment to redirect $80 million toward the Florida Forever land-buying program and away from other purposes she said are not consistent with Amendment 1. Approved by 75 percent of voters in November, Amendment 1 is supposed to direct $742 million toward water and land conservation programs in the 2015-16 state budget. The Senate budget bill filed Friday provides $2 million for Florida Forever along with $20…

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Environmental groups criticize ‘hostility’ in Senate Amendment 1 spending proposal

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Environmental groups supporting Amendment 1 on Thursday criticized a Senate chairman’s spending proposal that provides $22 million for land acquisition. Amendment 1, approved by 75 percent of voters in November, provides an estimated $741.8 million in fiscal 2015-16 for water and land conservation programs. Sen. Alan Hays, chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government, on Thursday released a spending proposal that provides $20 million for Kissimmee River restoration land buying and $2 million for the Florida Forever land acquisition…

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Amendment 1 budget proposal prompts objections, heated exchange

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A Senate appropriations subcommittee chairman on Thursday presented a budget proposal that provides $22 million for land acquisition, prompting another Republican subcommittee member to charge that the proposal violated Amendment 1. Amendment 1 is a conservation spending initiative approved by 75 percent of voters in November. In 2015-16, the measure will provide $741.8 million, or 33 percent of documentary stamp revenue, for water and land conservation programs. State Sen. Alan Hays, chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government, recommended…

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Environmentalists: House budget plan ignores Amendment 1 intent

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A House subcommittee chairman’s proposal for environmental spending ignores the will of voters who supported Amendment 1, environmental groups said Tuesday. “Most of Florida was left out of this budget,” said Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon Florida. He was responding to the 2015-16 environmental spending proposal issued Tuesday by Rep. Ben Albritton, chairman of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee. The proposal will be voted on by the full House Appropriations Committee. Amendment 1, approved by 75%…

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