State Politics

Manatee reps talk about upcoming session

State Rep. Greg Steube, R-Bradenton, said of this year’s session: “Creating jobs, and the budget is going to be a huge issue.” He added, “I sit on (the House) health care appropriations (committee), we’ll be looking at about 15 percent cuts to the budget.” Asked if he has a pet bill he’d particularly like to see passed, Steube said, “Anything that can help Florida’s economy, and can help create jobs.”

State Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, said, “The biggest issue we face is constitutionally, our only requirement is to produce a balanced budget.” He noted that with a $3.5 billion or $4 billion shortfall, finding ways to cut the deficit and still finance necessary initiatives would be quite a challenge. Personal bills he is working on and would like to see passed include one about car insurance fraud and one designed to make sure the Citizens Property Insurance Corp. once again becomes the insurer of last resort.

State Rep. Ray Pilon, R-Sarasota, said the budget deficit and education reform will be among his top priorities, along with pension reform both for private companies and for those covered by the state Florida Retirement System. Pilon added that he is particularly interested in the criminal justice budget and the Department of Corrections, along with agricultural and natural resources issues.

-- Sara Kennedy