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Today on Context Florida: Shutdown talk, big government, hating runners and knowing our place

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Today on Context Florida: Next week the Florida Legislature returns for an overtime session to fulfill their sole constitutional requirement of passing a budget. Not a Washington budget, says Bob Sparks, but one where bean counters must have the same number of beans on the expense side as well as the revenue side. Conversations containing the word “shutdown” have gained a little momentum in recent days. Doomsayers from both parties, including Gov. Scott, have offered their views on the dire effects…

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Florida Senate offers healthcare coverage compromise

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Republican leaders in the Florida Senate offered up a revamped health care proposal Tuesday in an effort to end a budget stalemate that threatens to shut down state government, but the proposal was immediately rejected by Gov. Rick Scott and House GOP leaders. Legislators are scheduled to return to the state Capitol next week for a 20-day special session where they are expected to pass a new state budget. Senate President Andy Gardiner announced what he called a “compromise” on…

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What will Rick Scott do with the base budget he’s developing?

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Gov. Rick Scott sent a memo to his agencies on Thursday asking them to compile a list of services people cannot lose and identifying what would be funded in a pared back budget he’s developing for the upcoming year. Scott has refused to directly answer, though, whether he’ll be submitting the information he compiles with the Florida Legislature for consideration when it goes into a special budget session, now tentatively scheduled for  June 1-20. “The Legislature drafts the budget, but this…

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Top Florida legislators work on budget deal

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Although no deal was reached, Sen. Tom Lee, a Brandon Republican, said that a “fair amount of progress” was made during the discussions between the House and Senate budget chiefs at the Capitol. “It was super productive,” said Rep. Richard Corcoran, a Land O’Lakes Republican. “I think today we moved the ball down the field tremendously. We are moving to resolution.” The pressure is mounting for legislators to reach a budget deal. State government could be shut down if a…

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Nearly half of states expect to confront big budget gaps

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With the nation’s economy at its healthiest since the Great Recession, a surprising trend is emerging among the states – large budget gaps. An Associated Press analysis of statehouse finances around the country shows that at least 22 states project shortfalls for the coming fiscal year. The deficits recall recession-era anxiety about plunging tax revenue and deep cuts to education, social services and other government-funded programs. The sheer number of states facing budget gaps prompted Standard & Poor’s Ratings Service…

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Florida budget snarled as governor challenges ‘Obamacare’

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a longtime opponent of “Obamacare,” made a startling announcement shortly after his mother’s death, going on TV two years ago to explain that he had dropped his objections to President Barack Obama‘s health care overhaul. The Republican governor, a former hospital executive who entered politics running TV ads against the Affordable Care Act, said then in 2013 that his mother’s death had changed his perspective, and that he could no longer “in good conscience” oppose expanding…

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Rick Scott working on a new 2015-16 spending plan, ‘base’ budget

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Gov. Rick Scott said on Tuesday that he’s working on a base, or continuation budget, for the upcoming year. “I’m looking at special session, I’m looking at a base budget, I’m working on our own base budget because I want to make sure our state continues to operate after June 30.” The Legislature is charged with annually crafting the state’s operating budget and passing the budget. Florida law requires the governor to submit his proposed spending plan and submit copies…

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