We Have Reached the Midpoint of The Legislative Session, So Where do We Stand?

The Florida Legislature has reached the middle of the 60 day Legislative Session. The Florida House and Senate are still deep in the budgeting process. Thursday morning, the Florida House passed a $79.9 billion budget with an 85 to 29 vote. Thursday afternoon, the Florida Senate passed an $80.9 billion budget with a 40 to 0 vote. With an almost $1 billion difference between the budgets, the two chambers have agreed to conference in order to align their respective budget. The Governor has two major requests for this year’s budget; $1 billion in tax cuts and $250 million for an Florida Enterprise Fund for business incentives. The current house proposal includes the tax cuts, however they are distributed over two years. The Florida Senate is uneasy about passing dramatic tax cuts due to uncertainties in the economy and estimated tax revenues, however they are on board with the $250 million Enterprise Florida fund.

The Seminole Compact is another hot button issue of this Legislative Session. On Tuesday, a House committee approved three bills that deal with the Seminole Compact struck between Governor Rick Scott and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The same day a Senate Committee decided to postpone a vote on the three bills. The compact would give the Seminole Tribe exclusive rights to blackjack in Florida in exchange for $3 billion payed to the state over the next seven years. The agreement would also eliminate the requirements for racetracks to continue hosting races in order to have slots and card rooms at their facilities.

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