Sources inside and close to the Senate President’s office tell me that several state senators have signed a letter “authorizing” Mike Haridopolos to adjourn early in order to reconvene later in the spring to finalize the budget.
***Update***The Miami Herald‘s Mary Ellen Klas confirms this story, writing:
Incoming Senate President Don Gaetz and incoming Democratic Leader Chris Smith have circulated a petition to present to the Senate president, and have gathered a majority of Senate signatures for the effort in the face of strong resistance from the House, Gaetz told the Times/Herald.
There is only one copy of the letter, so I’m still working on getting the language from it. Reportedly, Senator Benacquisto is walking the letter around and has already received several commitments and signatures.
State economists left their revenue estimate for the next year and a half all but unchanged Thursday, prompting renewed calls from the House for lawmakers to finish their budget on time despite the Senate leaders’ hesitance to move too quickly, reports Brandon Larrabee.
House leaders swiftly pointed to the steady estimate as a sign that Haridopolos should drop his public consideration of an extended session or a special session to deal with the budget shortfall. Haridopolos has said he’s concerned that the numbers could still change dramatically between now and the summer.
“We will once again face many difficult choices as we craft a budget that reflects the House priorities,” said House Appropriations Chairwoman Denise Grimsley. “Delaying these tough choices will not make them go away.”
House Speaker Dean Cannon said that completing a budget by the end of the 60-day session would also help future job growth by giving business leaders certainty about the future.
“There are inherent risks and uncertainty with any forecast, but none that can’t be overcome with conservative budgeting, planning for contingencies and setting aside ample reserves,” Cannon said.
Haridopolos was unmoved.
“The President continues to have concerns about the revenue estimate,” spokeswoman Lyndsey Cruley said in an email.
“We’ve got almost six months from now to the beginning of the fiscal year, so what’s the rush,” said Sen. Jack Latvala. “If things are getting better, the less we’ve got to cut and I’ve already said I’m not going to support the cuts we did last year.”