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budget conference

Top line tourism, economic development money closed out, chair says

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Don’t expect any movement in the budgets for Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA at the conference committee level. “I’m authorized to negotiate quite a few things in this budget and there’s a few things I’m not, and those would be among the things I’m not,” said Sen. Jeff Brandes, the St. Petersburg Republican chairing the Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development Appropriations conference committee. The panel met again at 8 a.m. Saturday. Earlier this week, legislative leadership agreed on roughly $83 billion…

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Lawmakers close out budget with $123 million in new, sprinkle projects

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The Budget Conference Chairs held their final meeting Monday night, finalizing all remaining differences between House and Senate proposals and approving “supplemental funding issues” paid for with money from what is informally known as the “bill pot” or more informally still as — sprinkle money. Chair Rep. Richard Corcoran and Vice Chair Sen. Tom Lee wrote into the budget a mixture of fixes for projects unintentionally not funded until now and last-minute items favored by legislative leadership, though too controversial to make it in otherwise. An…

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House and Senate close out health care, general gov’t budget silos

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In a swift 15-minute meeting Thursday night, the full bicameral Budget Conference Committee closed out all remaining differences in the chambers’ massive health care and general government budget silos, swapping tens of millions of dollars and making significant progress towards reconciling their respective $80-plus billion proposals. “We could go huddle up for 30 seconds and come back but we knew we were close, so we just thought we’d cut to the chase,” said committee Vice Chairman Sen. Tom Lee, the Senate’s…

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Rick Scott’s office claps back at budget chiefs after priorities snubbed

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After the first meeting of 2016 legislative budget conference Friday evening, senior budget writers — in particular House Budget Chairman Rep. Richard Corcoran — told reporters the Legislature had so far more or less ignored two of Gov. Rick Scott‘s top priorities. Corcoran said their current proposal contained “zero” toward a $250 million dedicated Florida Enterprise Fund for state business recruitment efforts and less than half the amount requested for a massive tax cut package: just $400 million compared to Scott’s $1 billion…

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Steve Crisafulli says no budget conference yet

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House Speaker Steve Crisafulli on Thursday said the budget conference process won’t begin just yet. The Merritt Island Republican announced the news to members of this chamber in an email: From: Crisafulli, Steve Sent: Thursday, February 18, 2016 9:16 AM Subject: Conference will not begin this weekend Members: There is positive forward progress in the effort to reach an agreement on budget allocations with the Senate. However, there is still a great deal to be worked out. Therefore, we will…

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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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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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