House OK’s state budget pumping up schools, cutting health careby John Kennedy | February 9th, 2012
A proposed $69.2 billion state budget, which pulls millions of dollars from health care programs and pours them into public schools, cleared the House on Thursday over opposition from outnumbered Democrats.
A year after slashing classroom spending by $1.3 billion, the House is making an election-year reversal — looking to replenish $1 billion. But where ruling Republicans find the money fractured the House along partisan lines.
The measure was approved 79-38. With the Senate expected to complete its budget next week, the two sides are poised to spend the session’s closing month hammering out differences.
The Senate follows a similar course as the House – proposing $1.3 billion more for public schools, while sharply scaling back health and human services spending. But the approach frustrated Democrats, who said cuts ran too deep, and the school money is not enough.
“Florida may be a great place to visit,” said Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach. “But if you’re in the middle class, it stinks to live here right now.”