Budget disputes mean Legislature may not finish on time

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Florida lawmakers may not end their annual session on time.

The House budget chief said today that budget negotiations with the Senate have grinded to a halt in the last 24 hours.

Both the House and Senate have passed rival versions of a new budget, but there are significant differences in areas such as money for roads and colleges.

Legislators have just seven days left to bridge all the gaps in order to end the session by March 9. That’s because state law requires the final version of the budget to sit on lawmakers desks for 72 hours before a final vote.

Rep. Denise Grimsley said she did not know why negotiations have come to a standstill, but said it appeared to be coming from Senate President Mike Haridopolos.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.