House members are proposing to spend $1.12 billion through hundreds of projects they hope to take back home from the Legislative Session that starts Jan. 9.
Riding high atop the wish list is Rep. Bobby Payne, a Palatka Republican who offered 17 proposals on Tuesday totaling more than $105 million.
Last week, House members proposed 310 separate projects, worth more than a half-million dollars, while in Tallahassee for a pre-Session committee week.
Being away from the Capitol for the Thanksgiving holiday didn’t slow down the requests, even though most of the proposals won’t make it very far.
On Monday and Tuesday, 159 projects, collectively worth $267 million, were filed.
Payne’s proposals include what is now the single largest ask: $69.5 million (HB 3259) for drinking water infrastructure improvements in Palatka.
As of Wednesday morning, House members had created a 673-strong project list for the session. But the proposals will have to compete with diminishing revenue, rising health-care and education costs, and the need to cover Hurricane Irma repairs and an influx of Puerto Rican evacuees from Hurricane Maria.
House Speaker Richard Corcoran, a Land O’Lakes Republican, has made clear that the priority will be on relief related to Irma, which caused billions of dollars in damage to the state in early September.
Unlike the Senate, the House requires members to submit each spending proposal as an individual bill.
Overall, Republicans had filed 451 project bills collectively worth $819.8 million. Democrats have rolled out 221 bills worth $295.7 million. There is one bipartisan proposal (HB 2135) regarding a livestock pavilion in Marion County.
Orlando Republican Rep. Rene Plasencia had made the second-largest request. He’s seeking $34.4 million for a Lake Nona campus building for Valencia College (HB 2437).
Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Manny Diaz Jr. of Hialeah, is asking for $52 million through 23 projects, including $28 million for a STEM Center on the north campus of Broward College (HB 2423).
Across the political aisle, Democratic Rep. Roy Hardemon of Miami is pitching for $50.9 million in 25 projects, including a $25 million intermodal logistics center at Poinciana Industrial Park in Miami-Dade County (HB 2767).
Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.