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Budget Nears Final Vote

April 28th, 2008 by flanews

After eight weeks of amending and tweaking budget, the legislature has a final proposal. Lawmakers are working with a budget that’s more than 3 billion dollars less than last year’s. Lawmakers are asking the Governor to uses reserves to make up part of the shortfall. They’ve decided to cut their salaries. One state agency not hit as hard as expected is the Department of Corrections. Original budget proposals eliminated more than 500 probation officers. The final version cuts about 200 positions. Florida Probation Officers Chapter President Richard Gordon said losing the positions will make the job harder on the remaining 2,500 officers.

“We’re not going to have to absorb some of those cases that those 199 officers were going to take over so that’s going to increase officers’ case loads. The more work load you have the less opportunity we have to go out in the community and do our real job,” said Gordon.

The Attorney General’s Office prepared for major cuts. The new budget doesn’t eliminate any positions, but it does slow down the opening of two new offices.

“We are committed to bringing our sex crime units to Tampa and Pensacola. We don’t know what the time frame of that will be at this point, but we are very encouraged that there seems to be a commitment from the legislature and the Governor expressing that we have a priority responsibility and we need to keep our children safe from predators. We’re going to get there we just don’t know when yet,” said Attorney General Spokesperson Sandi Copes.

The Pensacola office was scheduled to open last week. The Tampa office is slated to open May 9th. No word on when either office will open. The legislature will take a final vote on the budget Thursday, and then it will be in the Governor’s hands.

Posted in Charlie Crist, Criminal Justice, Legislature, McCollum, Politics, State Budget, State News | No Comments »

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