Having used his power as budget chairman to cut an agency's money as an effective two-by-four, Sen. Mike Fasano relented Thursday and agreed to restore all of Space Florida's $3.9-million state grant in next year's budget. Fasano had slashed it by $2-million a day earlier in response to the agency spending $300,000 for two no-bid lobbying contracts. "They got our message," Fasano said at a conference committee meeting. "We certainly hope that will never happen again."
The House also wants to slash $1-million from the state planning agency, the Department of Community Affairs, whose boss, Tom Pelham, has clashed repeatedly with House members over proposed changes to growth management laws. But Rep. Rich Glorioso, R-Plant City, a proponent of eliminating DCA and shifting its growth management powers to regional planning councils, said the proposed raid was not intended to punish Pelham. "We had to find $1-million, and that's where we found it, basically," Glorioso said.
The Senate-House conference committee on transportation and economic development also agreed to slash film and motion picture incentives -- a governor's priority -- from $10-million to $3-million.
-- Steve Bousquet