Speaker Corcoran Takes The Helm, Defends Budget Rules

Nov 22, 2016

Speaker Richard Corcoran addressing the House.
Credit Nick Evans

House Speaker Richard Corcoran will require House members to file budget requests as stand-alone measures before the legislative session begins.  The move could make the coming year’s budgeting process contentious.

In a bid to block last minute additions to the budget, Speaker Richard Corcoran is forcing member projects through the committee process.  But the Senate isn’t using the same set of rules—potentially setting the table for confrontations down the road.  Corcoran has no qualms about the House’s position.

“Gridlock in essence doesn’t help anybody,” Corcoran says, “unless it’s gridlock over something that is a diametrical opposition to the principles that you know would make society, Floridians or the nation great.” 

“That’s not gridlock, that’s statesmanship.”

Corcoran says the change is based on a Senate rule requiring any substantive legislation have a Senate sponsor to get consideration. 

The most recent budget projections could complicate matters further.  Forecasters are predicting a minimal surplus, but Corcoran thinks even that outlook is too rosy.

“I think once we see the Zika effect in our sales tax revenues,” he says. “my hunch is that when we hit session in March that we’re going to be pretty—at best flat lined and worst we could have a deficit.”

Senate President Joe Negron is more optimistic about the state’s books.

In addition to altering the budgeting process, the new House rules prohibit flying with lobbyists or texting during committee meetings.