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House loves sick people. Senate loves roads. Both love Woody Allen

If you want to boil down the major differences between the House and Senate budgets, look at what the House does to road builders and what the Senate does to the elderly and disabled.

The House raids nearly $600 million from the state's transportation trust fund, the seed money for roads and a sacred cow in the Senate. The Senate hasn't decided on trust fund sweeps like the House, so its budget looks stingier. The Senate cuts hundreds of millions ($328m in GR, unknown total) in Health & Human Services.

Bottom line Senate HHS budget: $27.2 billion. House: $28.3 billion. With that extra billion, the House spends more than the Senate on Alzheimers, seniors-meal centers and other programs for the poor and disabled. The House also proposes no increase in the so-called "sick tax" on hospitals, which is in the Senate budget, though Senate President Jeff Atwater says it's a goner because it's a tax increase.

Anyway, much of the Senate health budget might be a charade because Congress looks increasingly likely to approve an extension of generous federal funds for Medicaid. Atwater said some will be shifted out of the budget, and Democrats in Congress like Tampa Rep. Kathy Castor say the Republicans should be careful not to bait-and-switch the taxpayer funds.

Of course, nearly every Congressional Republican will vote no while their GOP counterparts in state Capitols like Florida eagerly await the infusion of borrowed cash. The whole Republican approach-avoidance conflict is kind of like that Woody Allen joke from Annie Hall about two old ladies griping about food in the old-folks home (just switch "stimulus money" for the word food):

Lady 1: The food is so bad here!

Lady 2: Yeah, and in such small portions.

Bon Appetit.

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