Secret State Budget Deal Falling Apart

Sen. Joe Negron

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (970 WFLA) - In a news conference reminiscent of the infamous "Peace For Our Time" announcement from British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in 1938, last week Governor Rick Scott, House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron together announced a series of concessions that were negotiated in secret and would be making a surprising deal on the budget during today's special session.

Alas, like so often in Tallahassee, it was too good to be true.

Sen. Negron issued a memo to fellow Senators who were concerned about the secret arrangement.  “I have made no agreement that would dictate an outcome," Negron said, essentially blowing up the pre-arranged deal.

Negron, (R) Stuart, said he wants to override billions of dollars of Scott's vetoes, restore hundreds of millions of dollars cut from hospitals, and increase University funding.

 That brought a response from Speaker Richard Corcoran, (R) Land O'Lakes, who wrote in a statement that he would not support a "massive property tax increase" to pay for the Senate's proposals. 

That's led to a very odd alliance between Gov. Scott and Speaker Corcoran.  For months, Scott traveled the state accusing Corcoran of trying to hurt Florida's economy by proposing massive cuts to his pet projects, including Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida.  Corcoran called those programs "corporate welfare."

But now Corcoran and Scott are closer in agreement on the budget deal, while Negron is on the other side, even though it was the Senate that had more support for Scott's economic development projects.

The special session was scheduled for three days.

Bottom line?  Don't expect an agreement by Friday. 

Lawmakers have until July to get the budget done before a state government shutdown.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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