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Friday, December 3, 2021

Florida Legislators Not Talking to One Another

There are three weeks left in the 2015 Florida Legislative session, and there appears to be an impasse. The experts are predicting this year that a special session will probably be called because the two Houses are not talking to one another. As a result, they will probably not have enough time to agree on a budget.

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“The wheeling and dealing between the two chambers of the Florida Legislature has come to a virtual stand-off over the chasm on healthcare funding. We’re simply not speaking to each other right now. That silence is an irresponsible waste of time as the clock ticks down on the second half of the session” says Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami and head of the Miami-Dade delegation.

In 2015, the legislators filed 1,700 bills for consideration during their two month session that ends in May. I know that this is a part-time position for the legislators, but two months does not seem sufficient time to do a credible job with the business of the state. Since both heads of the two chambers are Republican, they usually have no problems compromising and agreeing on major issues.

But, Senate President Andy Gardiner and Speaker of the House, Steve Crisafulli have different agendas, and they are exposing their problems to the public. Last week, House Appropriations Chair, Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes said “He would go to war.” I am not sure what that means, but it is obvious that the two Houses have a different philosophy and they need to sit down and talk.

At the present time, there is a $4 billion difference separating the Senate and House versions of the budget. The ideological opposition to accepting federal funding makes no sense, and this is the first time the Republican president of the Senate has taken a stand for Floridians. It will be interesting to see if Senate President Andy Gardiner buckles under pressure from Governor Scott.

Governor Scott has always maintained that he is working for all the socio-economic classes in Florida, but his record would indicate otherwise. It is easy to talk about helping poor people, but when you are a billionaire, the majority of your friends are millionaires. As a result, it is easier to refuse $51 billion from the federal government because the Low Income Pool (LIP) does not impact your friends and business associates.

It is great that Andy Gardiner is standing up for Floridians and Floridians should support him. It’s a shame that Florida taxpayers continue to pay for the most expensive healthcare in the emergency room in the country, while other states use our tax dollars to lower the cost of their care.

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There is an impasse in Tallahassee and either the Senate president or the speaker of the House will be forced to change his position. There are three weeks until the session is officially over, and the leaders must find a solution and compromise.

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