Budget deal near
Word out of Tallahassee is that a budget deal will be announced shortly. No word on the exact details, but looks hopeful that the deal will be done either today or Wednesday.
Although this makes it sound less likely.
TALLAHASSEE -- House Speaker-designate Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, just told reporters what has become obvious: lawmakers physically don't have enough time to finish their budget work by the Friday adjournment of the regular, 60-day lawmaking session.
Because the finalized plan must sit on lawmakers' desks for 72 hours before it can be passed, the $65 billion-plus spending plan would have to be negotiated and off the printers by midnight Tuesday. But Senate President Jeff Atwater and House Speaker Larry Cretul haven't yet even signed off on how much money committee chairmen would have to divvy out to spending programs. So the chances of turning around the budget in the next 29 hours is near-impossible.
"First, you've got to agree on how much money you want to spend and reductions you have to make," said Cannon, who has been pushing to carry over a large surplus for when the state's share of the federal stimulus money runs out in two years.
But Cannon deflected just about every other question, saying the decision-making has been in the hands of the presiding officers since the end of last week.
It is confirmed that conferencing talks will begin at 4 pm today with hopes of finalizing the budget by May 8, 2009. No word yet on what deals were struck to reach this point.