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The Mother of All Sessions Begins

March 3rd, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

Florida lawmakers have begun their annual 60-day session amid the worst economic conditions since the great depression. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, todays ceremonial beginning will turn into the most heated debate over taxes in decades.

On the 164th anniversary of Floridas statehood, the opening of the legislative session was filled with Pomp and Circumstance.

But tough choices lie ahead. The state is 5 billion in the red and the Senate President noted the picture could get worse.

Projections paint a sobering picture, Senate President Jeff Atwater said.

Revised revenue numbers are due in mid March. Newly elected House Speaker Larry Cretul says the state of the state isnt great.

I think the state of the state is, we need to be concerned. We need also to be braced, perhaps, for some unpopular decisions, Cretul said.

While today was all about flowers, pomp and circumstance, feeling good and renewing old acquaintances, we heard one member exclaim, once the flowers are gone, the war begins.

Schools are worried about additional cuts, and the list of possible tax increases is long. A penny more for sales tax. Bottled Water. Cigarettes. Gambling. Eliminating exemptions on everything from advertising to dry cleaning.

While some are optimistic, many are not.

I think the state of the state is crisis, Rep. Keith Fitzgerald (D-Sarasota) said. Were in very tough economic times.

The 60-day session promises to be physically, mentally, and most likely financially taxing.

Posted in Economy, Legislature, State Budget, State News, Taxes, Unemployment | No Comments »

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