Budget conference: House budges on jobs program, road funds, but large gaps remain
a lot of money - a million US dollars in cash

a million bucks
'Some good faith moves.'

House and Senate budget negotiators continue to inch closer to a deal on transportation and economic development spending, but remain apart on key programs.

In the latest House offer, the chamber moved closer to the Senate’s preferences on a series of issues.

The House increased its offer for Job Growth Grant Fund to $56 million, up from its earlier position of $42 million but still shy of the Senate plan for $75 million. Gov. Ron DeSantis requested $100 million for the program, which allows DeSantis to give out grants to local governments and state colleges for road and job training projects.

The $100 million the House wanted for improvements to Camp Blanding, the training center for the Florida National Guard, was reduced to $50 million, halfway to the Senate’s position of no funding for it. The House is also agreeing to the Senate proposal of $17 million for the law enforcement recruitment bonus program, a $3 million reduction from the House’s original budget.

The House also offered $30.6 million for local transportation projects, far short of the Senate plan to spend $231 million, but a significant step up from not funding it at all, which the House did in its initial budget. The House also moved to fund the emergency bridge loan program for the first time, proffering $5 million, but still short of the Senate’s $25 million position.

“Some good faith moves,” said Rep. Alex Andrade, a Pensacola Republican and the House’s top transportation budget negotiator. “There’s still a couple of big items out there, obviously Camp Blanding is one of them. The emergency bridge loan program … is another one we’ll have to try and figure out but we’re getting real close.”

Andrade and his counterpart, Sen. Ed Hooper, a Clearwater Republican, said they’ll likely meet again later Wednesday evening to try to resolve more areas of the budget.

The House also agreed to the Senate’s position of $3 million for litigation expenses for the Department of State, which oversees elections and defends challenges to elections laws, a $1 million reduction from its original budget.

Gray Rohrer


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