Don’t miss your first look at stories driving today’s agenda in Florida politics.
By: Peter Schorsch | Florida Politics
… The House and Senate passed their budgets with unanimous votes, sending the Legislature to debate over key disparities in their $91 billion-plus spending plans.
But the squabbling over differences can wait until next week. For now, lawmakers are patting each other on the back for what has so far been a remarkably non-turbulent Legislative Session.
Praise came in from both sides of the aisle, with North Miami Democratic Rep. Dotie Joseph lauding House Budget Chief Travis Cummings.
“It is refreshing when you find someone in this process who keeps their word,” she said.
Likewise, Senate Budget Chief Rob Bradley offered a positive outlook on the approaching bicameral budget negotiations.
“If you really do a deep dive on the two budgets and you look at the difference in (general revenue) spending … it’s a lot closer than perhaps it appears on first blush,” he said.
Still, there are some significant details to hammer out — $ 1.4 billion worth, to be exact.
Among the key differences: the Senate is fully funding the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund with $387 million and $52.5 million for VISIT FLORIDA — two positions where the House diverges, offering $144 million and zero dollars respectively.
The Senate’s plan also sets aside $125 million for Florida Forever, well above the $20 million contemplated in the House and the $100 million by the Governor.
And then there’s teacher pay. The House and Senate have each committed to meeting Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ask of raising starting teacher pay to $47,500, but their formulas for reaching their aren’t fully in sync — expect the fine print on this one to be a work in progress through the final hankie drop.