Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders work out budget deal

Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders work out budget deal

Lawmakers will rework that section of the budget and a bill dealing with Enterprise Florida, the agency that doles out economic incentives, and Visit Florida funding during a special session next Wednesday through Friday.

As part of the agreement, Scott will sign the budget into law and call the Legislature back into a special session next week. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton. "With the increase funds to K-12, that really takes a lot of the concern away from the opponents" of HB 7069, a charter-school-friendly $419 million schools bill that was a Corcoran priority. Many educators are urging the governor to veto the measure, HB 7069.

As recently as an hour before the announcement, key lawmakers were unaware of the details of the deal, which restores some priorities of Scott and Senate President Joe Negron that didn't make it through the regular session.

The governor also announced his plans to veto HB5501, which calls for a 60 percent decrease in funding for Visit Florida.

Additionally, legislative leaders have said they would use a special session on the budget to try to resolve an impasse over legislation enacting the November constitutional amendment on medical marijuana. However, with a 2/3 vote, the call could be expanded to include other topics. But he agreed to $85 million in incentive funding, so long as it's used for a new program that benefit all businesses through job training and infrastructure development.

He also vetoed the entire $20 billion K-12 funding program in the budget, based on what the governor said was his "determination that a more significant increase in per-pupil funding levels would better meet the needs of our public school system and Florida's families". Both chambers of the state legislature approved that big budget cut last month.

Scott had asked the Legislature for $85 million to replenish a corporate cash incentive fund, but that was ignored by lawmakers.

The legislation is a top priority for Corcoran and would steer more state and local money to privately-run charter schools by creating a $140 million "Schools of Hope" program.

The money to pay for the new spending will come from $410 million that Scott is expected to veto from the budget.

"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.

In announcing the deal, Scott and Corcoran appear to have finally declared a truce after engaging in an intense war of words over the last few months, primarily over the issue of economic incentives. Without legislative action, more of the responsibility for the regulatory framework would fall on the state Department of Health. "The students and the state win, the people who want a better paying job wins, everybody wins", Scott told reporters Friday. "I don't have information that that's changed at this point", he said, adding that House and Senate bills were "very, very close" by the end of the regular session.

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