The Home and Senate have handed their most well-liked budgets off their flooring. However main variations stay on capital enhancements for prisons and state employee retirement advantages to be resolved in formal talks between the chambers later within the Common Session.

The Home finances is $115.5 billion, with the Senate model coming in at $392 million extra. The funding is lower than the $117 billion present finances, however Home leaders have warned of the necessity to pull again on spending within the face of federal stimulus from the COVID-19 period being phased out and income development declining.

The Home spending plan (HB 5001) handed 112-2, with solely Reps. Bruce Antone, an Orlando Democrat, and Angie Nixon, a Jacksonville Democrat, voting towards it. Antone stated he’ll doubtless vote for the ultimate finances after talks with the Senate, however bemoaned the dearth of initiatives for Legislative Black Caucus members within the finances, noting he solely acquired a $62,500 venture within the finances.

“I can’t even begin up the bulldozer with that,” Antone stated.

Home Speaker Paul Renner, a Palm Coast Republican, rebuffed the grievance, noting member initiatives have grown within the finances in recent times together with the general finances. However as federal spending evaporates and income development slows, Renner stated funding is required in core areas.

“There’s nonetheless loads of member initiatives,” Renner advised reporters after the vote. “We need to be certain we have now spending capability for the issues that matter most — public security, infrastructure, schooling — issues that each one individuals on all sides of the aisle agree upon.”

The Senate finances (SB 2500) handed unanimously.

One space of the spending plan that must be resolved in finances convention talks is funding for capital enhancements within the state jail system. The Senate has a plan (SB 2510) to arrange a fund to place $100 million per 12 months over the following 30 years to improve Florida’s decaying prisons. The Home doesn’t have an identical program in its finances.

One other key distinction is the Home plan (HB 151) so as to add a 3% price of dwelling adjustment (COLA) for state staff enrolled within the Florida Retirement System earlier than July 1, 2011. The Senate doesn’t have an identical plan in its finances.

The following step within the finances course of is for Home and Senate leaders to agree on top-line numbers for every part of the finances, setting the stage for formal talks between the chambers.

Lawmakers should attain an settlement on the ultimate spending plan by March 5 to fulfill the 72-hour “cooling off” interval required by the structure earlier than they’ll vote on the measure to finish the 60-day Common Session on the scheduled March 8 finish date.

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