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Sine Die

May 2nd, 2008 by Mike Vasilinda

Florida lawmakers have passed a budget and are in their final minutes of this years 60 days session. As Mike Vasilinda tells us,

Old folks at home will remain the state song, minus offensive lyrics. Offensive truck accessories will remain legal. Condo owners will have more rights. 911 dispatchers will be better trained. A wrongfully convicted man will get paid

State employees will get nothing in this budget.

With one exception: state troopers get a 5 percent raise.

Its a retention issue that really affects South Florida, State trooper Bill Smith said.

Schools will see140 dollars less for each student. But an 8 year effort to protect kids from bullies is finally successful. After a lot of talk, more property tax relief will be non existent, but people will have an easier time challenging assessments. Some businesses will also benefit.

It would be taxed at what its actually being used for, rather than what it could be used for. Its highest and best use, Rep. Dan Gelber said.

The session is also notable for what it dit not do. Corporate tax loopholes will not be closed and cigarettes will not be taxed at a higher rate, both of which could have offset huge cuts in services.

We dont want to raise taxes, you know, Rep. Ray Sansom said. I think we did everything that the people of Florida expected us to do.

The lawmaking process was often frenzied, with three bills passing the Senate in just five minutes. And like most years, the most controversial items were left for last.

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