The legislature has made some progress in moving forward with the task of crafting the state budget. On Thursday, the House amended the Senates main appropriations bills by stripping out the Senate language and replacing it with the House version of each bill. The House version of each of these bills was then Laid on the Table, thus taking them out of consideration. We are left with the following appropriations bills of interest:
SB 2500-A – General Appropriations Act
Providing moneys for the annual period beginning July 1, 2015, and ending June 30, 2016, and supplemental appropriations for the period ending June 30, 2015, to pay salaries and other expenses capital outlay – buildings, and other improvements, and for other specified purposes of the various agencies of state government, etc.
SB 2502-A – Implementing General Appropriations Act
Implementing The 2015-2016 General Appropriations Act.
SB 2512-A – FRS Employer Contribution Rates
Revising the employer contribution rates for the retiree health insurance subsidy; revising the required employer retirement contribution rates for members of each membership class and subclass of the Florida Retirement System; providing findings of an important state interest, etc.
In today’s House Session, the House rejected the Senate’s Health Insurance Affordability Exchange — SB 2-A – and passed its own tax cut package — HB 33-A – valued at about $440 million. The tax cut package includes, among other things, the popular Back-to-School sales tax holiday.
This afternoon, the Senate and House announced its Conference Committee assignments. The Senate’s Education Appropriations Conference Committee members are Senators Don Gaetz (Chair), Dwight Bullard, Bill Galvano, John Legg, Bill Montford, David Simmons, and Kelli Stargel. The House Education Appropriations Conference Committee members are Representatives Erik Fresen (Vice Chair), Janet Adkins, Bob Cortes, Manny Diaz, Heather Fitzenhagen, Mia Jones, Larry Lee, Marlene O’Toole, Elizabeth Porter, Ray Rodrigues, Irv Slosberg, Charlie Stone, and Dwayne Taylor.
In addition, the House and Senate have agreed on budget allocations for each of the Conference Committees. The Conference Committees are scheduled to begin the task of working out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget tomorrow morning at 9:00 am. At this time, we don’t know how much or how often the Conference Committees will meet over the weekend, but we will provide progress reports on the Education Conference Committee as needed.
Also, it appears that the Conference Committees will work on the five separate parts of the budget until Tuesday, June 9. At that time, any remaining unresolved issues will be “bumped” to the Senate and House Appropriations Chairs – Senator Lee and Representative Corcoran – for resolution with the goal of completing work on the budget by June 16.