Florida Five: Lawmakers reach late-night budget deal, Consumers get a $400 million tax break

Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:

Florida Capitol Rotunda
Photo credit: Floridapolitics.com

Lawmakers reach late night deal on budget – Aided by a last-minute infusion of cash that went to projects backed by the state’s Republican leaders, Florida legislators late Monday night reached a deal on a nearly $80 billion budget for the state. The agreement, much of which was pounded out in private meetings and out of the view of the public, means legislators are on track to approve a budget by Friday. State law requires that lawmakers must wait 72 hours after the budget is placed on their desks before taking a final vote. Read more

Consumers will get a $400 million tax break — It is just over half the amount he wanted in tax cuts this year, still Gov. Rick Scott celebrated a $400 million-plus tax plan that sailed through the Florida Legislature on Monday morning that will cut sales taxes on back-to-school shopping and lower cellphone bills, among other items. “Giving Floridians back more of the money they earn in tax cuts is the best thing we can do to keep Florida’s economy growing,” Scott said in previewing his expected approval of the bill. Read more

Lawsuit could be brewing against state over Amendment 1 funding— House and Senate leaders declared Sunday that they had set aside $55 million for buying new public land from a ballot measure that was passed last year by 75 percent of state voters. It wasn’t until Monday that environmentalists realized lawmakers were planning to spend far less, setting up a likely legal showdown over what exactly Amendment 1 means. Read more

Florida’s lieutenant governor on why the Florida GOP must win the 2016 Senate race – While the political world waits with excitement . . . well, contentment . . . well, impatience for Jeb Bush to make his announcement, another Florida politician is also inching closer to a decision on a high-stakes campaign for office: Lopez-Cantera on Why Florida GOP Must Win the 2016 Senate Race. On Friday afternoon, I had the chance to speak to Florida lieutenant governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera, who’s strongly considering running for the Senate seat that Marco Rubio will depart from, one way or another, in January 2017. Read more

Senate nixes House’s health care bills, calls for a study instead – The Florida House’s attempt to get the state Senate to focus on passing legislation aimed at controlling health care costs is now getting the same treatment as the Senate’s to expand health insurance with Medicaid money — it’s dead. Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health Policy on Monday cancelled Tuesday’s scheduled meeting of his committee to take up six bills that have passed the House and instead released a statement calling for a joint House and Senate “Task Force on Health Care Policy Innovation.” Read more

2016 Watch: Jeb Bush announces for president: ‘I will run with heart; I will run to win’ (w/video)

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