TO: NAIOP Florida
DATE: February 11, 2018
The mid-point of the 2018 Legislative Session is behind them and legislators now face the negotiations that define the following year’s budget and the policy that will both shape it and be shaped by it. In other words, all eyes are on the state budget.
Both chambers passed their proposed spending plans on Thursday. The House budget totals $87.2 billion and the Senate’s budget comes in at $87.3 billion. Historically, the cash gap is minimal in terms of state budgets, but there are big differences in the line-item makeup of each proposal. As the two chambers advanced their budgets, the revenue estimators provided their Q1 projection of revenue for the rest of this fiscal year and 2018-19. The numbers are $461 million higher in nonrecurring revenue. This increase will be included in the budget. The only question is where.
The House budget, for example, is directly linked to a conforming bill that doesn’t exist in the Senate. The bill (HB 7055) would create a scholarship program to help bullied public-school students transfer to private schools. The “Hope Scholarships” are a Speaker priority and are being shepherded by Naples Republican Byron Donalds. His wife, Erika Donalds, sits on the Collier County School Board and is a member of the Constitution Revision Commission. The provision passed the House and now heads to the Senate where it’s future is uncertain.
Legislators also are continuing the longtime fight over designated “free-speech zones” on college campuses. A Senate committee supported a bill (SB 1234) that would prohibit state universities and colleges from restricting free speech to certain areas on campuses. The House version, (HB 909), has one more committee stop before heading to the floor.
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