House and Senate Release Joint Memo on Special Session
As you’ll remember from last week, the Senate issued a draft call for Special Session to begin on June 1st and to conclude on June 20th. Yesterday, the House and Senate released a joint memorandum informing members of the legislature to return to Tallahassee for Special Session with the agreed upon dates of June 1st through June 20th. However, the two sides have not put out a list of topics to be discussed during the Special Session.
No resolution between Governor Scott and HHS Officials on Medicaid issue
Earlier this week, Governor Rick Scott flew to Washington, DC to meet with Sylvia Burwell, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to discuss the future of Low Income Pool (LIP) funding in Florida. The Governor restated his opposition to Medicaid expansion, stating, “There’s no support in the House. I’m not going to support it. It’s not a program that’s worked.” However, Burwell said, “it is an important element to providing access to quality health care and reducing hospital costs that are typically passed on to taxpayers.” Recently, Governor Scott issued an executive order to establish a commission to research how taxpayer money is being spent by hospitals and providers. Click here to read more.
Tax Cut Update
Tax Cuts Remain Up in the Air until Special Session
The abrupt end to this year’s legislative session left Governor Scott’s plan for over $500 million in tax cuts hanging in the balance. The dividing issue between the Florida House and Senate over Medicaid expansion resulted in the legislature adjourning sine die without a budget. Representative Matt Gaetz, Chair of the House Finance and Tax Committee, filed a tax cut package totaling $690 million in cuts that included a 3.6% cut to the communication sales tax, a priority of the Governor. The Senate, however, refused to push a tax package with the debate over Medicaid expansion remaining unresolved. Other proposed options included repealing a tax rebate on jet fuel tax that currently favors only four major airlines, as well as the removal of sales tax on original works of art. All of these tax break options will remain in limbo until a Special Session is called to pass a budget.