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Mike Haridopolos: plug disability agency deficit, keep SunPass discount

Tis the time of the session, mid way, when the presiding officers like Senate President Mike Haridopolos start weighing in and acting like Santa Claus when they rescue programs or help taxpayers. Two issues cropped up today:

The decision to mirror House language and fill a $174 million current year budget deficit in the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, and Haridopolos' announcement that the Senate wouldn't wipe out the discount on prepaid tolls for those who purchase SunPass cards.

On APD: "I’m very sensitive to this. The developmentally disabled population we don’t even have them as part of our Medicaid reform….. I think you’ll find those APD adjustments are necessary and that we’re going to move toward that direction. We want to make sure – the legalities of it… we want to reduce that gap as much as possible because I would consider those folks -- if not the most vulnerable -- one of the most vulnerable groups in the state."

On SunPass: “In looking at the situation and talking with members over the past 12 hours or so…. I have let it be known we will not be adjusting those. The discounts will stay in place. And we think that, especially as you commute across the state of Florida, the best thing to do is keep those discounts in place. If nothing else, people may recognize that they’re actually getting a discount when they purchase a SunPass. I think it’s to their benefit as well -- saving time, of course, and money as well.”