Senate bows to House and OK’s 3 percent tuition hikeby John Kennedy | April 26th, 2013
Gov. Rick Scott’s legislative agenda headed further into the ditch Friday night, as the Senate finally bent to the House’s will and accepted a 3 percent tuition increase for college and university students.
Scott has long opposed a tuition increase. And he had an ally in the Senate for the course of the legislative session, even as the House pushed for a 6 percent hike.
But as the two sides labored into a second weekend on differences in a $74-billion-plus spending plan, the Senate finally offered to meet the House halfway, recommending a 3 percent boost. The House accepted.
Senate Budget Chief Joe Negron, R-Stuart, and his House counterpart, Rep. Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland, also agreed to $70 million for Everglades funding, settling on the Senate’s starting position and slightly more than Scott requested in his budget proposal.
Scott also continues to face a challenge from lawmakers on his bid for $2,500-across-the-board teacher pay hikes.
Negron and McKeel agreed to meet Scott’s $480 million pot of money for the raises, but they want the money distributed based on job performance and to include a larger pool of instructional personnel that would shrink what goes directly to teachers.
The two sides plan to continue talks tomorrow.