House and Senate budget leaders said Monday they have not reached agreement on “allocations,” which are a crucial step in starting formal budget negotiations, reports the News Service of Florida. With the legislative session scheduled to end March 9, House Appropriations Chairwoman Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, acknowledged that time is getting short to agree on the allocations and reach a budget deal. By making allocations, legislative leaders decide how much money should be set aside for each part of the budget. Negotiators then decide how the money will be spent. By law, the budget must be completed 72 hours before the end of the session to allow what is commonly described as a “cooling off period.” Grimsley and Senate Budget Chairman JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, met until late Sunday night. Despite the lack of agreement on allocations, Grimsley said she sees reason for optimism, including stable tax revenues. Alexander also said they had made “great progress,” though he said the Senate is holding onto a couple of fundamental issues. He did not disclose the nature of those issues. Grimsley noted rumors that senators want to delay approving a budget. But she said she has not seen any indication that Alexander shares that view. She said she hopes “common sense will prevail at the end of the day.”
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