State Politics

1/28 LEGISLATURE BRIEFS: House rolls out nearly $69.2 billion state budget

TALLAHASSEE -- The Florida House is proposing a nearly $69.2 billion state budget for the coming year that calls for higher college tuition and state worker layoffs while including more money for schools.

The House rolled out its spending plan Friday and will have to reconcile it with the Senate. The House budget is larger than one proposed last month by Gov. Rick Scott.

House Republicans are supporting Scott’s push to spend $1 billion more for public schools, but they have rejected Scott’s call for deep cuts to hospitals.

The House also wants to set aside some money for the annual back-to-school sales tax holiday. A House panel this week approved a bill that calls for a two-day holiday in August.

House unveils plan to keep building schools

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida House Republicans are rolling out a plan to replenish the state’s depleted school construction account.

A House panel Thursday approved a bill that would shift money that now goes to other parts of the state budget into the special account that is used to pay for new school buildings and to repair roofs and air-conditioners.

The initial House budget for the coming year -- which is nearly $69.2 billion -- sets aside nearly $400 million to provide construction money for universities, community colleges and for charter schools. It includes no money for school districts.

State officials earlier this month took the unusual step of stopping payments to ongoing construction projects until lawmakers figured out a way to replenish the construction account.

-- Associated Press