House, Senate budgets don’t see eye-to-eye on member-requested projects

Matt Dixon, (@Mdixon55)

The House and Senate are roughly $30 million apart on lawmaker-requested projects as final negotiations begin Monday.

The Senate made its first offer to align with the House budget today, but includes no funding for roughly $26 million for projects included in the House plan. The House’s budget left out $30 for projects requested by members of the Senate.

It’s common for pet projects requested by lawmakers to be used as negotiating chips by both sides as final budget negotiations heat up. Overall, both chambers crafted $11.6 billion plans, with the Senate’s first offer roughly $40 million less than the House plan.

The biggest earmark fight is $10 million the House wants for SkyRise Miami, a 1,000 foot tower being proposed by a Miami developer.

Other earmarks funded by the House, but not the Senate include: $1.5 million for the airport in Lakeland, the hometown of House budget chief Seth McKeel, $200,000 for the Hialeah Chamber of Commerce, and $100,000 for the Ponder House in St. Petersburg.

Money in the House plan not included in the Senate’s spending blue-print include: $500,000 for the Fort Myers McCollum Hall, $1 million for Circus Sarasota, and $1 million for municipal docks in Wakulla County.

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