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Florida House and Senate pass vastly different budgets

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The two chambers of the Florida Legislature at odds over a new state budget, and it’s not clear how soon the differences can be worked out. The Florida House on Thursday voted 86-29 in favor of a nearly $76.2 billion budget. The Florida Senate a day earlier unanimously approved its $80.4 billion spending plan. Legislators are supposed to finish up work on a new budget by May 1. The Senate is including billions in federal aid intended to help the…

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Singin’ the small government blues

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Florida lawmakers’ balancing act in writing a state budget includes factoring in promises of a tax cut, increases in education and conservation measures and bridging a nearly $2 billion gap created by the scheduled end of a Low Income Pool program for hospitals. They will get fresh numbers Tuesday to begin work on a spending plan for the fiscal year beginning in July. Republicans who control the state Capitol have campaigned on, governed by and promised more of the economic-freedom…

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Gary Fineout: 10 things in the state budget you may not know about

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Completely wonky, but still a must-read from Gary Fineout: Gov. Charlie Crist could act sometime Thursday on the $70.4 billion budget that state lawmakers adopted during their spring session. Many salient facts about the budget have been reported including that it’s bigger than what Crist himself proposed, that it includes money for items only if Congress kicks in extra federal help, and that it contains many projects pushed by the two budget chiefs in the Legislature. But there’s always some…

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Charlie Crist to veto all special projects in state budget

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From Steve Bousquet: Charlie Crist has already alienated the Republican-controlled Legislature on three fronts, and a fourth emerged Thursday when he said he’s likely to veto dozens of special projects in lawmakers’ districts as part of the $70.4 billion budget. The growing resentment between Crist and lawmakers began when he vetoed a bill re-creating so-called leadership funds — major fundraising machines under the control of a few legislators. Then, driven by strong public opposition, Crist vetoed a teacher tenure and…

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