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Andy Gardiner and Steve Crisafulli issue joint statement: budget conference extended

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The presiding officers of the Legislature’s two chambers — Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli — made a show of unity after a somewhat turbulent beginning to 2015 Special Session A, issuing a joint statement early Tuesday afternoon announcing they will allow budget conference sub-chairs to continue to work out their differences rather than have leadership take control of the process.

“Over the last three days, our budget conference committees have worked together to finalize key portions of our state budget,” wrote the bicameral duo, who battled all spring and into the summer over healthcare expansion and tax cuts.

“Each committee has made great progress towards finalizing its areas of the budget as well as proviso language and our implementing and conforming bills. With such progress being made at this level, we have authorized our conference committees to continue their work through the close of business this evening.”

Outstanding budget issues were originally slated to be “bumped up” for hashing out by Appropriations chairs state Sen. Tom Lee and state Rep. Richard Corcoran effective at noon Tuesday.

“We look forward to continuing this steady progress over the next few days, with the goal of finalizing the budget by early next week,” the statement concluded.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at

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