The House and Senate agreed upon the outlines of a state budget Thursday and appointed conferees to work out the details, beginning that afternoon.
Senate President Joe Negron said the deal would provide an across-the-board raise for state workers — their first in about nine years, according to Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala, for whom the raise was a priority.
“This has not been the least difficult negotiation that either of us has ever been in,” Latvala told Negron from the floor.
“It’s been a long negotiation. We’ve had a lot of reports that we were done when we weren’t really done. But we’re here now to start the conference process,” Latvala said.
Negron and House Speaker Richard Corcoran together settled the major points of contention between the two chambers, Latvala said.
Conference subcommittees have until noon Saturday to complete their negotiations, he said. Anything they can’t settle will go to the full committee. Any controversies still unresolved will go to the presiding officers by noon Sunday.
The House-Senate budget conference has nearly $83 billion to spend. Hereis how the allocations break down.
The biggest pot is for health care — $34.2 billion. Next come PreK-12 education, at $15 billion; transportation, tourism, and economic development, at nearly $13 billion; higher education, at $7.8 billion; civil and criminal justice, at $5 billion; agriculture, environment and natural resources, $3.6 billion; and general government, at $2 billion.
There’s about $1.7 billion for “administered funds/statewide issues.”