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Budget deal done — seasoned with pork

by John Kennedy | May 3rd, 2011

House and Senate budget negotiators reached a deal Tuesday morning on a state budget — after leaders broke an impasse over health and human services funding and also tucked millions of dollars in hometown projects into the spending plan to satisfy key lawmakers.

The deal keeps lawmakers on track for an on-time adjournment Friday, the final scheduled day of the session. It also may allow Gov. Rick Scott to claim a modest achievement — with $308 million in tax breaks tucked into the proposal.

That’s far from the $2 billion Scott demanded. But Senate budget-writer J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, said the first-year governor should be satisfied.

“We all fight hard for the things we believe in,” Alexander said. “But at the end of the day, I think the governor has got a lot of the things he’s interested in, including some reduction in the corporate tax.”

Scott came into the session seeking a more than $450 million cut in the corporate income tax. Instead, lawmakers have advanced a $30 million reduction — a level close to what they’re also setting aside for a three-day back-to-school tax holiday in late summer.

In other issues, the Senate abandoned its push to slash spending on the state’s Medically Needy and Medicare Aged and Disabled programs, which serve 90,000 severely sick and elderly Floridians. Instead, the programs have maintained current-year funding.

But hospitals will absorb an even deeper reduction in Medicaid rate payments than earlier proposed by either the House or Senate. Hospitals will lose 12 percent of state reimbursement payments and nursing homes will absorb a 6.5 percent reduction.

The budget deal also was flavored with pork.

 The University of South Florida’s Polytechnic college in Lakeland, which has long been helped by Alexander, drew a stunning $46 million in state funding in the budget — about one-third of the state’s Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) total — far outstripping the University of Florida, Florida State University and other bigger schools.

House budget chief Denise Grimsley, R- Sebring, also represents a district that includes a large chunk of Polk County.

“There’s a lot of advocates for every part of the budget,” Alexander said.

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5 Responses to “Budget deal done — seasoned with pork”

  1. BillyBull Says:

    USF RULES:

    The budget deal also was flavored with pork.

    The University of South Florida’s Polytechnic college in Lakeland, which has long been helped by Alexander, drew a stunning $46 million in state funding in the budget — about one-third of the state’s Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) total — far outstripping the University of Florida, Florida State University and other bigger schools.

  2. NO Everify? You are all being VOTED OUT Says:

    ALL you getting paid by the Florida Citizen should be ashamed of yourselves caving into Labor and Lobby for those who do not deserve a voice.

    Do not plan to be voted back into office if you did not vote for the EVerify for ALL and fines for those who do not.

    WE want illegals deported as found and should you not want them off the road driving without insurance and a license?

    That is law enforcement job to PROTECT US. Not illegals or business that uses them.

    HOW DO YOU ALL SLEEP AT NIGHT? Those kids in the halls where probably all anchor babies who do not deserve your pity and my tax money.

  3. SINGER ISLAND Says:

    THEY BETTER HAVE KEPT THE $9,000,000 FOR THE BREAKWATER IN THE BUDGET!

  4. AK Says:

    Leave it to the Repubs to take away millions of dollars in pork that could help the most needy. Repubs have no souls and no hearts. Why don’t they cut their salaries to help balance the budget. No Repub will get my vote ever. Anything they have passed can surely be repealed by the next Democratic legislature.

  5. Thanks GOP Says:

    Republicans got their pork, eliminated taxes for the rich corporations, and slashed billions from children and the elderly – a GOP win win.

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