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State economists get ready for yearly budget

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Budget season has begun in Tallahassee with the release of financial “outlooks” that state agencies rely on to come up with their yearly budget requests. The numbers, released Thursday, give agency heads some idea of a baseline. Of course, they’re sure to ebb and flow between now and the 2017 Legislative Session. Most importantly, as LobbyTools points out, the “numbers will also be used in the Long-Range Financial Outlook report that shows whether the state has a deficit or surplus after paying…

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Enterprise Florida shouldn’t “be overlooked,” vice chair says

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The vice chair of Enterprise Florida (EFI), the state’s public-private economic development agency, sounded like he was playing defense in a conference call with the group’s executive committee Wednesday. “As you read some of the newspapers, they make it sound like we’re out of business,” said Alan Becker, co-founder of South Florida’s Becker & Poliakoff law firm. Though Gov. Rick Scott is the chair, Becker presides over meetings as vice chair.  He was responding to a report on EFI’s recent business development…

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Budget conferees begin weekend of negotiations

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House and Senate budget writers met Friday night to organize the 2016 Budget Conference process. They plan to meet through the weekend as they negotiate how to reconcile the $1 billion gulf between their spending plans as they allocate taxpayers’ money to keep Florida’s government running. Rep. Richard Corcoran, House budget chief, said after the meeting that the Florida Enterprise fund – money to be used to attract jobs to the state and a major priority of Gov. Rick Scott –…

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Takeaways from Tallahassee – The “budget knives come out” edition

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The Florida House released its almost $80 billion proposed 2016-17 state budget in the wee hours of Friday morning, along with a list of all the member requests for money for projects back home. The requests – all 1,067 of them – are also posted on the House website. Appropriations Committee chair Richard Corcoran, the Land O’ Lakes Republican slated to be House Speaker next year, promised to disclose such requests as part of his drive for greater transparency in the Legislature’s yearly budgeting process. Below are just a…

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Rick Scott to release state budget in Jacksonville

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Gov. Rick Scott plans to release his recommended state budget Monday in Jacksonville. Scott’s office said he will debut his “Florida First” budget for 2016-17 at 10 a.m., at Harbinger Sign on Shad Road. The Florida Channel will carry the announcement live. Earlier this month, Cynthia Kelly, Scott’s budget director, wrote a memo in which she previewed the spending plan. Kelly said Florida “will have a record $29.8 billion of general revenue available next year – including $1.3 billion in new revenue.”…

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Adam Putnam ‘disappointed’ with firefighter pay raise veto

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Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam expressed disapproval that Florida state firefighters are among the losers in Gov. Rick Scott’s recently signed $78.7 billion state budget. In a private ceremony Tuesday morning, Scott vetoed $1.6 million in the state budget set aside for 606 Forest Service firefighters to get $2,000 a year in pay raises each. The cuts were among $461.4 million in spending slashed from the new state budget set to go in effect July 1. “I am profoundly disappointed,” Putnam said in a statement,…

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ICYMI: Legislators agree to do budget, health care during session

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Florida’s Republican-led Legislature will return to the state Capitol in June and try to do what they couldn’t do during their 60-day session that crashed to a halt. GOP legislative leaders announced late on Friday that they have come up with a long list of items they want to tackle during a 20-day special session, including a new state budget and even major healthcare changes. The most pressing item is the budget since state government could be shut down if…

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