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Budget battle over incentives intensifies, could doom session

January 31st, 2017 by Mike Vasilinda

Governor Rick Scott today proposed Florida spend 83.5 Billion dollars next year. He’s also seeking almost 700 million in tax cuts, but as Mike Vasilinda tells us, he focused most of his attention today on two items totaling just over 160 million dollars.

Rick Scott said it once,

“If we don’t fund Enterprise Florida and we don’t fund Visit Florida, we have to understand we’re going to lose opportunities for our families.” Scott was speaking at the annual AP Legislative planning meeting on the Capitol’s top floor.

He mentioned the need for continued incentives to lure businesses and tourists to Florida six times.

“This is important to you?” We asked.

“Yea, just think about what I ran on. I don’t think there’s any question  when I ran in 2010 I ran on jobs. this state was in trouble.”

The reason for the almost singular focus on incentives is because there is strong opposition to them from the House Speaker.

Budget Battle00000007Q:”If they’re not approved, whoever blocks them is going to cost people jobs.”

“Yeah, that;s just not true and there won’t be any incentives in the budget” says Richard Corcoran.

Democrats have now joined Republicans in opposing incentives in the House, and that unity is going to make it harder for the Governor to overcome their objection.”

House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz says the 160 million incentive package Scott wants could be better spent elsewhere.

“We have school funding that’s 50th. That’s why I say we have misplace priorities” says Cruz.Budget Battle00000006

The Senate is siding with the Governor, which could lead to a stalemate on the budget..something the House Speaker seemed to acknowledge tongue in cheek.

“I was going to show you a video” says Corcoran. “Two trains going in different directions, finally hitting each other and derailing. that could be how session ends.”

And while the final decision on the budget won’t be made for another three months, the train tracks are already rumbling.

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