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Budget deal in hand, Alexander predicts session will end on time

Posted Apr 26, 2011 by Catherine Whittenburg, Tallahassee bureau

Updated Apr 26, 2011 at 10:24 AM

After publicly dressing down House leaders yesterday for stonewalling budget negotiations, Senate budget chief JD Alexander said this morning he now thinks the session will end on time.

That newfound optimism reflects the agreement on budget allocations that House Speaker Dean Cannon and Senate President Mike Haridopolos announced this morning. Here’s the joint statement (see below); details of the House-Senate agreement on spending amounts for different areas of government are available here.

“Resolving a budget shortfall of nearly $4 billion is a tall order, but I’m pleased the House and Senate worked through this difficult process,” said Speaker Cannon. “Our allocations ensure that we preserve our bond ratings by maintaining adequate reserves. Most importantly, we do not take money out of the struggling Florida economy by increasing taxes or fees.”

“While many states and the federal government are floundering under crushing deficit spending, we kept our promise that we would not raise taxes or fees during these difficult economic times,” President Haridopolos added. “For months, I’ve heard over and over again that we would never be able to get this done. Working as a team, the House and Senate, reached these budget allocations on behalf of all Floridians.”

President Haridopolos and Speaker Cannon plan to announce budget conferees later today. Budget conference will begin on Wednesday April 27, 2011.