Senate Republicans call for $1.5 billion in reserves, downplay Rick Scott’s tax cuts

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As the 2014 elections approach, Senate Republicans are downplaying Gov. Rick Scott’s plan for $500 million in tax cuts. Instead, the Florida GOP wants to focus on developing a healthy state budget.

Sen. Joe Negron said that before the Legislature starts looking for money to spend on other projects, they should set aside around $1.5 billion in reserves.

Negron’s price tag is $500 million more than the current proposal of $1 billion in reserves, according to John Kennedy in the Palm Beach Post’s political blog.

The Stuart Republican said he does need at least $100 million for a number of projects designed to address environmental problems in Lake Okeechobee. He is not entirely rejecting Scott’s election-year tax cut proposals.

“I think that’s a very good marker that the governor has set,” Negron told the Post. “But … to achieve that, we’d have to go through the budget and make reductions and use that money to deploy for those fee-and-tax cuts and other spending.”

Although Florida is looking at an $845.7 budget surplus next year, half of that cash is a one-time-only influx to the treasury, making it difficult for the legislature to set up reoccurring tax cuts.

In the four-day tour promoting the $500 million in tax cuts earlier this month, Scott did not specify where what cuts he had in mind.

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.