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Senate prez to Palm Beach County leaders: ‘Lower your expectations’

by George Bennett | March 6th, 2013

TALLAHASSEE — Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, listened to Palm Beach County leaders ask for more money for beach renourishment, flood control and higher education during a meeting in the Capitol this morning.

But Gaetz said legislators will be cautious about spending until Florida has a clear picture of what effect automatic federal spending cuts, or sequestration, will have on the state’s economy and tax revenues.

“What’s happening in Washington is creating a lot of uncertainty, obviously, in the aerospace industry, in the defense industry, in the industries that are part of the supply chain that feed those industries. That’s scores of thousands of jobs in the state of Florida. So we’re kind of on a knife’s edge right now,” Gaetz told about 40 people who met with him during the county’s annual lobbying blitz in Tallahassee.

As long as that uncertainty exists, Gaetz said, it’s prudent for the state to rein in spending.

“I would suggest to you, be cautious, lower your expectations and let’s watch and see what happens to the variables we cannot control. You may not have wanted to hear that, but that is the message,” Gaetz said.

Today is Palm Beach County Day, when the county organizes a group of public and private sector people to visit the Capitol and meet with legislators and state officials.

The meeting with Gaetz and Senate Appropriations Chairman Joe Negron, R-Stuart, was attended by five county commissioners, State Attorney Dave Aronberg, Palm Beach State College President Dennis Gallon, former Senate President and Florida Atlantic University Foundation lobbyist Ken Pruitt, school district lobbyist Vernon Pickup-Crawford, municipal elected officials and various representatives of business and civic groups and the firefighters union.

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