You Paid For It: Lawmakers’ failure to finalize budget on time costing taxpayers

AP Photo/Steve Cannon

FLORIDA (WFLA) — The Florida Legislature is expected to pass an $83 billion state budget on Monday. Too bad that didn’t happen Friday in time to save Florida taxpayers between $52,000 and $74,000 in operating costs for this extra day of business, based on what taxpayers paid for prior Special Sessions.

That’s how much the daily expense of Special Sessions have cost taxpayers in recent years. House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, a democrat from Tampa, thinks it will run closer to $72,000.

A last-minute, round-trip flight to Tallahassee for a Miami lawmaker, for example, costs as much as $1,000 on short notice, and You Paid for It.

“As a taxpayer, when you hear that, of course you’re gonna be angry,” said Tampa resident Keith Freda.

“There’s many things we could do with that money to better use it,” said Raul Nardi.

That taxpayer cost could climb substantially if state lawmakers return for a special session called by the governor to resolve implementation of the Medical Marijuana Amendment that was overwhelmingly approved by voters last year.

If Governor Scott decides to veto the entire state budget, instead of exercising line item veto power, that may call for another session, once again at the taxpayer’s expense. But, it all starts with finalizing the budget, something lawmakers hoped to do Monday night, on the first day of the extended session.

“If they’re wasting our money, then I think they really need to kinda step it up,” said taxpayer Natalie Russo.

There are a lot of “if” and “maybes” in all of this. The only certainty is that we’ll pay more for this year’s state spending plan because lawmakers couldn’t complete the only task they are constitutionally required to do during the 60 day legislative session that expired Friday — pass a budget.

“That’s pretty much kinda ridiculous if you think about it,” said taxpayer Jessica Claud.

STORIES THAT OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON –

>> MORE TOP STORIES

WFLA.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s