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Scott gets House approval for more time to release his budget

Gov. Rick Scott is busting his first deadline. State law requires the governor to present his budget recommendation to the Florida Legislature in January but this year, with the inauguration of a new governor, the deadline by law is extended to Sunday, Feb 6. Legislators expected it Friday, Feb. 4.

Now, Scott is asking for more time. In a letter to House Speaker Dean Cannon and Senate President Mike Haridopolos, Scott asked if he could work through the weekend. Cannon said ok, giving the governor until Monday, Feb. 7. Scott's energy staff was expected to appear at the Senate Communications and Energy Committee today but also asked for a delay until after the budget is released.

"The Governor is going to rein in state spending and the extra time allows the budget team to make sure every dollar is spent with the right priorities in mind,'' said Scott spokesman Brian Burgess.

The governor's budget is only a recommendation and is either used as a guidepost, or completely ignored, by lawmakers. Scott told reporters and editors last week that, like Babe Ruth's called shot, "my budget will pass." Here's Scott's letter: Download Governor Scott Letter[1] Here's Cannon's letter: Download Speaker reply to Governor - budget[1] Here's Haridopolos letter: Download President_response_governor_budget[1]

There is precendent for the Legislature to give the governor extended time. After the tornadoes in Central Florida in 2007, Gov. Charlie Crist sought and received an extension and proposed his budget on Feb. 20.