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Jack Latvala blames final budget stalemate on Richard Corcoran’s ‘last-minute switcheroo’

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Working toward a final Florida state budget, news of a skirmish between the Senate and House emerges.

A war of words appears to have broken out between House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Latvala.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that Latvala ended budget negotiations after Corcoran “changed the deal” by insisting the final agreement link VISIT Florida’s $25 million advertising budget to new rules on the agency’s employee travel and salaries.

Details have not been released before Monday’s vote by the full Legislature.

House budget conference attendees have agreed “in front of God and everybody” to put VISIT Florida money into the final budget, Latvala said, apart from language about agency operations.

“They changed the deal last night to put it all together and I stopped everything and we argued about it for a while,” Latvala told the Times, adding that Senate President Joe Negron ended the stalemate by an “interpretation” allowing Corcoran to get his way with a “last-minute switcheroo.”

“Without a meeting, without any vote by the conference committee,” Latvala said, “they’ve done it their way.”

The Clearwater Republican senator called Corcoran’s treatment of VISIT Florida “disrespectful” to the state’s largest industry.

Corcoran, though spokesman Fred Piccolo, responded: “It’s no great mystery that the speaker has demanded accountability and transparency from VISIT Florida.”

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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