House and Senate budgets roll out — topping Scott’s blueprintby John Kennedy | March 21st, 2014
The House unveiled it’s 2014-15 state budget proposal Friday, following the Senate’s release a day earlier and setting the legislative session on course for the homestretch haggling.
Both proposals top the $74.2 billion blueprint Gov. Rick Scott rolled out in January. The Senate would spend $74.8 billion, while the House weighs in at $75.3 billion. Each would prove the largest spending plans in state history.
In an election year, lawmakers usually look favorably on school spending and this year’s no different. Still, neither hit the $1 billion increases that marked the last two years of state spending following a $1.3 billion cut for schools during Scott’s first year as governor.
While Scott earlier recommended a $542 million boost for K-12, the Senate is calling for a $651 million boost and the House $740.8 million more. The Legislature has been helped by new revenue projections, which fattened the state’s budget surplus to $1.2 billion.
The per-pupil increase of 3 percent in the House surpasses the 2.5 percent Scott called for, and the 2.6 percent emerging from the Senate.
Still, the per-pupil amount next year still looks certain to be a couple hundred dollars below the record $7,126 achieved in 2007-08, before the state’s economy tanked with the recession.