Over 1,000 member requests revealed as Florida House budget for 2016-17 goes live

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The Florida House of Representatives released its almost $80 billion proposed 2016-17 state budget in the wee hours of Friday morning, along with a list of all the member requests for money for projects back home.

The requests – all 1,067 of them – are also posted on the House website.

Appropriations Committee chair Richard Corcoran, the Land O’ Lakes Republican slated to be House Speaker next year, promised to disclose such requests as part of his drive for greater transparency in the Legislature’s yearly budgeting process.

Below are just a few:

House Republican Leader Dana Young is again going to bat for her hometown’s historic Tampa Theatre, asking for $2 million after last year’s $1 million request was vetoed. The 89-year-old building needs structural rehabilitation; as of last year, parts of its electrical system dated to the 1920s.

State Rep. Brad Drake, a Eucheeanna Republican, asked for $16,000 to replace the roof of the Town of Ponce de Leon Volunteer Fire Department in Holmes County. “The Town has tried over the years to perform maintenance on the roof with inadequate results,” he wrote.

State Rep. Hazel Rogers, a Lauderdale Lakes Democrat, put in for $50,000 to help replace windows in a senior center in nearby Margate.  “Funds will be used to replace the existing windows with hurricane-rated storefront commercial units,” she wrote.

State Rep. Shevrin Jones, a West Park Democrat, is asking $2.5 million for a “Neighborhood Traffic Calming Plan” in that city that includes “traffic circles, street humps, chokers, roadway striping, median closures, speed lump/speed cushions, textured pavements, medians, center island narrowing, and other calming elements.”

State Rep. Travis Cummings, an Orange Park Republican, submitted a request for $2 million toward “The Florida EPIC (Entrepreneurism, Policy, Innovation, and Commerce) Program” at Jacksonville University. It’s a STEM program (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), a favorite of Gov. Rick Scott.

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.