Budget Deal Reached; Lawmakers to Return to Tallahassee Next Week

This would amount to an additional $215 million for those in K-12 programs.

But some Democrats, upset with leadership crafting the budget and a handful of other priority spending bills behind closed doors, have offered publicly to help the governor push back a veto-override.

Each leader will get something from the deal, which will be completed in a special session that begins Wednesday.

Scott had threatened to veto the entire $84 billion dollar spending plan when lawmakers gutted the state's tourism procurement agency, Visit Florida, and severely cut the state's job procurement agency, Enterprise Florida.

But Scott didn't include marijuana in his call for the Legislature to come back to town.

Lawmakers have yet to complete work to regulate the use of marijuana, which was approved by voters in a constitutional amendment that passed during the November election.

Scott declined to veto another portion of the budget related to state college funding, meaning those schools may have to live with a $30 million cut in remedial education. The education bill, which is opposed by groups such as the Florida School Boards Association and the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, includes money for items such as a charter-school expansion and pay bonuses for teachers and principals.

Competing for jobs, Scott has argued, means retaining a system of economic incentives.

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Another priority for Corcoran was to slash funding for VISIT FLORIDA, which drew heavy scrutiny from lawmakers in the wake of a secretive $1 million deal with Miami rapper Pitbull. The budget passed by the Legislature would give VISIT FLORIDA $25 million, which is $51 million less than what it received in this year's budget. Scott had initially sought a $216 per pupil increase.

The announcement coincided with news that Scott signed the budget 2017-18 budget, vetoing $410 million in legislative projects.

The governor, however, refused to say whether or not the deal reached with legislators is contingent on him approving a sweeping education bill that was put together secretly in the waning days of the regular session.

With Florida's jobs-subsidy program the target of a well-publicized political fight, large companies looking to move seem to have crossed the state off their list, said Kelly Smallridge, president of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County.

"It's a shame the House wouldn't negotiate during the regular session", Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, tweeted.

"I think we have the outlines for a tremendous session, a productive session and one that will do great things for the state of Florida", said Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

Scott said he had been having conversations with Corcoran and Negron for months and feels this process was necessary. Otherwise, regulation would be left up to the Florida Department of Health.

  • Myrtle Hill