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Mike Fasano to Tallahassee: My office will be open, how about yours?

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Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano wants to know what plan the Florida Department of Highway and Safety & Motor Vehicles has if the state has to shut down because of a budget impasse. Fasano — a former lawmaker — sent a letter to Executive Director Terry Rhodes on May 4 questioning what plan will be in place if the state doesn’t have a budget on July 1. Fasano said he had concerns about the operation of his office as…

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Bill Day’s latest: Gone fishin’

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Editorial cartoonist Bill Day sharpens his pencil to mark the “official” sine die of Florida’s 2015 legislative session. While today would usually be filled with post-hanky drop celebrations throughout the Florida Capitol and along Adams Street, there is no joy tonight in Mudville (otherwise known as Tallahassee). On Tuesday, the House abruptly adjourned its session, hightailing it out of town three days early. The lower chamber’s disappearing act left the Senate hanging — with a full agenda, a long list of…

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House offers Senate $600 million to walk away from Medicaid expansion

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The House rejected the Senate’s proposal to extend the session until June 30 and upped its offer to $600 million in contingency funding to pad the loss of supplemental Medicaid funding called Low Income Pool if the Senate would back away from its push to expand Medicaid to low-income working Floridians. The contingency funds would kick in after the state hears back from the federal government as to the amount of Low Income Pool funds Florida can expect, the House…

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OpenGov rollout puts St. Pete budget data a click away

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The City of St. Pete launched an online platform called OpenGov last month that allows residents to interactively monitor how the city is spending taxpayer dollars. OpenGov can be used to monitor and compare current and past spending in various departments and funds and see what that money was used to purchase. The platform is used in 36 states among 270 local governments representing 34 million citizens and nearly $90 billion in annual spending. “This is another step forward toward…

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Bill Day’s latest: Florida House’s approaching ‘LIPocalypse’

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A storm brews in the Florida House. Facing a massive budget hole — to the tune of billions of dollars — the state Senate last week released its proposed spending plan for the next fiscal year. The $80.4 billion proposal includes healthcare coverage expansion for nearly one million low-income Floridians and funding program for hospitals. The Senate move helps fill a gap left by the imminent end of the federal Low-Income Pool program, nearly $2.2 billion of additional money to hospitals and…

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House refuses to dance with Senate, passes budget without Senate health plan

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The House doesn’t want to dance with the Senate on a healthcare deal to balance the state budget but it’s willing to go to war. Thursday afternoon the Florida House passed a $76.2 billion state budget. The Senate Wednesday had approved an $80.4 billion plan. Most of the difference between the two is found in the Senate’s plan to replace money lost when the federal government ends a hospital reimbursement program with money available to expand Medicaid. Earlier in the…

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Read without downloading: Florida House budget allocations

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Sharpen your pencils, grab a bunch of erasers and put the coffee on. Folks, we’re starting to write a state budget. House Speaker Steve Crisafulli released general revenue budget allocations for the 2015 2016 fiscal year on Friday. The total General Revenue Fund Allocations lawmakers have to spend is $28,517,800,000 – $900 million more than the current spending plan. Keep in mind, it’s just a starting point. GR is one of the planks used to build a $77 billion budget; it’s combined with federal…

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