2012 REGULAR SESSION - LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
January 27, 2012
A MESSAGE FROM GARY
Tuesday, January 10th, marked the first day of the 114th Regular Session of the Florida Legislature since statehood was granted in 1845. You may be asking yourself why this update is coming in January instead of March. You are not wrong to question the timing. Once every ten years, the Legislature convenes early to undertake redistricting: the redrawing of Florida's political boundaries, to reflect changes in population. This year the Florida Legislature is faced with a number of challenge and during this legislative session, the Florida House of Representatives will focus on policies designed to strengthen our economy, stimulate private sector economic growth and put Floridians back to work. The road ahead will not be easy, and we will make difficult decisions. But I am confident that we will emerge from Session with solutions that will make Florida a better place to live, work and do business. If you have any questions about the issues you read about here, or if you need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact my office or send an email message to me at the following address: email@example.com Your input is always welcome.
Pursuant to the Florida Constitution, the only bill the legislature is required to enact during its annual session is a balanced state budget. In difficult economic times, we must carefully examine our spending priorities to ensure we are responsibly funding the primary, core functions of government. The revenue shortfalls over the last six years are both profound and historic and this year we are facing another projected shortfall of nearly $2 Billion. Funding cuts are never easy, however, the legislature is bound by the state constitution to enact a balanced budget. Unlike the federal government, we cannot spend money we do not have. In preparing the state budget, the Florida House of Representatives will adhere to several principles established by Speaker Dean Cannon, including:
- Not raising taxes or fees, and providing tax relief to foster economic recovery. Prioritizing the delivery of services to people (education, health care, and public safety) over the purchase of things (transportation, general government, and the environment).
- Prioritizing K-12 education, in line with the recommendations from Governor Scott. We have funded K-12 with an allocation exceeding $1 billion in new state funding to address the shortfalls in K-12 education and provide an increase in per student funding of 2.27 percent.
- Providing sufficient reserves to weather fiscal forecast fluctuations and preserve our bond ratings.
As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I will have the opportunity to help craft the final state budget. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Florida House to develop a fiscally prudent budget for the State of Florida.
REAL LIFE, REAL HELP
Ted Sottong, the President of Studio+ Architecture, contacted our local office for help with his firm's licensure application with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). Ted had been trying unsuccessfully to get his firm licensed so that he could begin taking clients and earning an income. A minor error in the paperwork led to gridlock in a bureaucratic process. Our office was able to intercede and expedite the licensure process for Ted, who is now back at work in his local firm. If you experience difficulty with a state agency, please reach out to our local office in Cape Coral. My staff stands ready to assist you.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Legislative Update from Representative Aubuchon
at 11:05 AM