Ladies and Gentlemen:
Earlier this evening, Senate President Gardiner and House Speaker Crisafulli announced that the Budget Conference process would begin this evening. At 5:30, House Appropriations Committee Chair Richard Corcoran, and Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Tom Lee met for an organizational meeting to appoint Representative Corcoran to serve as chair of the Budget Conference Committee and Senator Lee to serve as vice chair. In comments to the press after this brief organizational meeting, Representative Corcoran and Senator Lee stated that an agreement had been reached on two issues that had delayed the Conference process: the size of this year’s tax cut package will total $400 million and the Economic Development Incentive package has been set a $0. This is significantly less that Governor Scott had requested. In addition, it was stated that both chambers were amenable to bonding PECO funding this year, which will significantly increase the funding available to school districts, colleges and universities for capital outlay projects. The House and Senate have also announced the list of members that will serve on the various Conference Committees:
Senate At Large Conference Committee:
Senators Tom Lee (Chair), Lizbeth Benacquisto (Vice Chair), Anitere Flores, Bill Galvano, Denise Grimsley, Arthenia Joyner, Gwen Margolis, Garrett Richter, David Simmons, and Chris Smith. [NOTE: In addition to any other duties, these At Large members may choose to attend and participate in the meetings of any of the other conference committees.]
Senate Education Appropriations Conference Committee:
Senators Don Gaetz (Chair), Dwight Bullard, Bill Galvano, John Legg, Bill Montford, David Simmons, and Kelli Stargel.
House At Large Conference Committee:
Representatives Richard Corcoran (Chair), Jim Boyd (Vice Chair), Janet Adkins, Ben Albritton, Dennis Baxley, Janet Cruz, Jose Diaz, Matt Gaetz, Mia Jones, George Moraitis, Jose Oliva, Marlene O’Toole, Mark Pafford, Holly Raschein, David Richardson, Cynthia Stafford, Carlos Trujillo, Alan Williams, John Wood, Ritch Workman, and Dana Young. [NOTE: In addition to any other duties, these At Large members may choose to attend and participate in the meetings of any of the other conference committees.]
House Education Appropriations Conference Committee:
Representatives Erik Fresen (Chair), Janet Adkins, Gwyndolen Clarke-Reed, Bob Cortes, Fred Costello, Marlene O’Toole, Keith Perry, Ray Rodrigues, Irv Slosberg, Charlie Stone, and Dwayne Taylor.
It was also announced that the various conference committees would work until 6:00 pm on Monday, February 29 and, at that point, any unresolved issues would be “bumped” up to Representative Corcoran and Senator Lee for resolution. As of this writing, no meeting of the Education Appropriations Conference Committee have been scheduled, but it is likely that they will meet sometime tomorrow (Saturday). We will keep you posted of any further developments.
I hope you find this information useful. Please let me know if you have any questions.