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Senate passes $70 billion budget

by Dara Kam | April 7th, 2011

The Florida Senate approved its $69.8 billion spending plan by a 33-6 vote after spending about an hour politely debating its pros and cons.

Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander acknowledged the plan is tough on state workers, who would be required to contribute between 2 and 6 percent to their pensions.

“We are asking a lot from our state employees. It has been a while since folks have had raises. I get that. But I also know in my district virtually every business has had layoffs…Many businesses have closed. Many businesses have struggled to remain open,” Alexander, R-Lake Wales, said, adding that he hoped his budget would prevent lawmakers from having to make future cuts to state workers.

“One of the biggest pressures we have in our job is when we’re insecure about our future,” he said. He said he hopes the plan gives workers “a reasonable confidence…that we will not be continuing to add to that burden going forward.”

According to Sen. Don Gaetz, lawmakers could either sign off on the nearly $4 billion spending cuts in the budget or raise taxes.

But Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich of Weston said lawmakers had not even attempted to close tax loopholes that could have pumped billions back into spending on health care for the poor, frail and elderly.

“In the long run, I really believe this budget is being balanced on the backs of our public employees, state workers and our working families,” Rich said. Closing loopholes are not tax increases. Nobody’s standing up here and urging a tax increase.
What I am urging is fairness in our tax structure so we don’t constantly put the emphasis on those who have the least and give to those who have the most.”

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9 Responses to “Senate passes $70 billion budget”

  1. Kelly Says:

    Great effort from the Senate. Sounds like they kept the no new taxes pledge intact, so far, which is pretty amazing. :)

  2. larry Says:

    who has pensions besides government workers most people can’t retire until they are 68 and then its a challenge, how can anyone feel sorry for them

  3. Gameplaying Says:

    What about the police, fire rescue and polticians pensions?!?!?!?!?

  4. Mark Says:

    Not sure how I feel about that SunPass deal, but the budget deal seems pretty good overall. Hopefully the no new taxes sticks through to the end.

  5. HoHumm Says:

    Tax the poor!!!! Give to the wealthy!!!!! Way to go Republicans!!! Oppps I mean Communists!!!

  6. monkeysauce Says:

    HoHumm, as the good Dr. House might say, you’re an idiot. This is a conservative budget that’s solid for taxpayers and should put us on a better longterm footing.

  7. HoHumm Says:

    Monkeysauce, you are short sighted and brain washed!! Once the republicans have no other pot to put their greedy hands into (ie, teachers, cops, firefighters, state workers the elderly) where do you think the money will eventually come from? Remember, if you can understand this, republicans are NOT cutting spending they are just taking the money for what they want from other places!! If they were cutting spending wouldn’t your taxes be going down? Smoke and mirrors my friend!! And you have bought it hook line and sinker!!! Read the book The Giving Tree!!! It’s a child book so you might be able to understand it…..maybe!!!!!

  8. monkeysauce Says:

    They’re spending less money than they were last year. Would like to know the math that gets you to think our taxes DON’T go down when spending decreases.

  9. Pills Bury Dough Boy Says:

    No new taxes. Yeah, that’s such a big concern for you conservative morons. What taxes do you currently pay in Florida? You idiots already voted to cut property taxes here in 2008. That’s why we have a budget shortfall in the first place. The rich and retirees don’t pay their share toward education and social services. All you old geezers will be balling when the morons you elected start stripping you of Medicare. Enjoy navigating a voucher system. We had a federal SURPLUS before Bush came in and blew that by giving everyone a whopping $600. Could have saved Social Security instead, but that would have made too much sense.

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