Special Session– Day 1

Just a minute after the gavel banged down to open this session, St. Sen. Frederica Wilson of Miami Gardens made it clear, in prayer, that the Democratic minority wouldn’t go along quietly with the budget deal legislative leaders have worked out.

After blessing those leaders and asking for divine wisdom in dealing with a “complex and devastating” budget crisis, she implored her fellow lawmakers to “remember the children” and “people on waiting lists”… a not-so-veiled slap at reductions in education and social programs.
Republicans– including the Governor– point out that whatever reductions are on table are merely the scaling-back of hefty increases that passed back at the regular session last spring, when tax dollars looked more plentiful.

The Gov says he’s still keeping an open mind about the 5% tuition increase lawmakers are proposing for students at state colleges and universities. But he vetoed it once last spring, and sure sounded like he might do it again, talking of residents hurt by soaring taxes and insurance costs, and saying “I don’t want to burden them more.”

The Democrats complain– the Republicans in charge of the process won’t even consider ways to raise more revenue, like repealing some of the tax cuts for better-off citizens that have been enacted in the last few years.

House and Senate met for only minutes. They’ll work in committees for a few days, with each chamber re-convening Friday to pass some version of spending cuts. Then they return home for the weekend, since Parents Weekend at FSU will fill most every hotel room in the area.
Next week, House and Senate negotiators will work on resolving differences between their plans, with the aim of having a final vote next Friday.

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