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2015 special session A

Rick Scott signs $400 million tax-cut package into law

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After working alongside members of the House in a coordinated “No Tax is Safe” tax-cutting crusade, Gov. Rick Scott today signed into law HB33A, a tax package that reduces rates on the Communications Services Tax, reduces various licensure fees and creates a “supercharged” 10-day back-to-school sales tax holiday, to use state Rep. Matt Gaetz‘s jaunty phrase. “Giving Floridians back more of the money they earn in tax cuts is the best thing we can do to keep Florida’s economy growing,”…

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In last-minute budget talks, lawmakers add some $300+ million in new spending in dark of night

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At a final budget conference meeting that began at the tender hour of 11:05 p.m. and ran until nearly midnight, state budget writers failed to fully address new state funding for hospitals — the primary impetus for the June special session to begin with. But they did find time to load up the budget with hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars for new projects, most of which had never seen the light of day or public comment until late in…

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As Rick Scott travels to Paris, lawmakers inch closer to final budget

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Gov. Rick Scott traveled to Paris on Friday aiming to bring back to his home state economic development projects. But while Scott is away House and Senate budget negotiators have reached a deal to give the governor considerably less money than he wanted for business recruitment. Sen. Tom Lee and Rep. Richard Corcoran on Saturday agreed to the transportation and economic development portion of the budget. Despite a fervent push from Enterprise Florida officials, the final deal calls for setting…

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Appellate court rules communications services tax unconstitutional

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This morning the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee’s Southwood district ruled that the state’s “communications services tax” — currently undergoing revision in the Legislature’s budget talks — is unconstitutional. Judge L. Clayton Roberts, writing for the majority in a 20-page opinion, ruled that the CST contravenes state law because it unfairly favors cable providers and discriminates against satellite television in Florida, whose operations are largely based outside the state, violating the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause. “A state law…

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Rick Scott signs 55 bills into law

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Gov. Rick Scott, who faced a deadline on 56 bills presented to him by the Legislature by today, signed 55 of them into law today. See below for a list of the bills that made the cut, per a news release from Scott’s office: HB 21             Substance Abuse Services — This bill establishes a voluntary certification program for recovery residences and recovery residence administrators.  HB 41            Hazardous Walking Conditions — This bill creates a safer environment…

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Andy Gardiner and Steve Crisafulli issue joint statement: budget conference extended

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The presiding officers of the Legislature’s two chambers — Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli — made a show of unity after a somewhat turbulent beginning to 2015 Special Session A, issuing a joint statement early Tuesday afternoon announcing they will allow budget conference sub-chairs to continue to work out their differences rather than have leadership take control of the process. “Over the last three days, our budget conference committees have worked together to finalize key portions of our state budget,” wrote…

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Tom Lee says House is ‘doing the bidding’ of Rick Scott on Enterprise Florida funding

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Senate budget Chief Tom Lee said on Monday the House is “doing the bidding” of Gov. Rick Scott in pushing to increase funds to Enterprise Florida. The remarks followed state Sen. Jack Latvala‘s abrupt move to adjourn the Tourism and Economic Development budget conferee meeting early Monday morning  just minutes into the meeting and as the House started to discuss a budget offer that would have increased funding at the agency charged with economic development. Lee said the offer was at…

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