Weekend Breakdown Casts Doubt On Whether Lawmakers Can Reach A Budget Deal

Apr 24, 2017

The reductions under the second part of the House budget exercise (2017).
Credit Florida House Appropriations Committee / Florida House of Representatives

There’s no such thing as a continuation budget says Senate President Joe Negron. Talks stalled over the weekend between the two chambers after the House floated the idea of a continuation budget.

The two sides can’t seem to agree on how to bridge a $4 billion  spending gap.

In a memo to the Senate, Negron called the continuation proposal by the House "a Washington creation where Congress is habitually unable to pass a budget and then simply carries forward the current budget for years at a time, with additional spending. I have no interest in adopting this ineffectual practice."

Corcoran too lashed out,  likening Negron and Senate Budget Chief Jack Latvala to Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and Bernie Sanders and accusing them of spending

Speaking to reporters Monday following a conference on gambling, Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami, says the budget breakdown was, "not just about numbers, but what's in the budget."

Corocran told the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times the Senate was trying to add too many big ticket spending items to the plan.

As recently as Friday House and Senate leaders were sounding optimistic, discussing possible deals to get Negron and Corcoran's top priorities funded. Negron wants $1.5 billion over 10 years to fund additional water storage in Central Florida to ease polluted runoff down stream.  Corcoran wants $200 million a year for a program he hopes will attract high performing charter schools into areas with chronically failing public schools.

The legislature has eight days to get a printed budget onto lawmakers’ desks in time for the mandatory 72 hours before a vote can take place. Lawmakers are running out of time to get details worked out before the session ends on May 5th.

If there's no deal in place by the start of the next fiscal year, July 1, it will be up to Governor Rick Scott to write the budget.