The size of teacher and state worker raises, a possible 6 percent university tuition increase, and whether or not millions will be spent on affordable housing are just some of the issues to be determined as the House and Senate begin budget negotiations this week and next.
On Thursday, House and Senate leaders agreed on general revenue allocations of $26.99 billion in general revenue, which makes up about a third of the state’s $74 billion budget. (General revenue comes from the sales tax, the corporate income tax, documentary stamps and various other taxes and fees. The other two thirds are federal grants and state trust funds.)
The proposed spending is about what the House proposed in its initial proposed allocation in March. The Senate initially proposed $26.8 billion.
House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz say there are few major differences this year than in years past. Thank an overall surplus of more than $3 billion for that.
The mood was upbeat Thursday as lobbyists and agency officials packed the Capitol to watch Weatherford and Gaetz introduce the beginning of budget negotiations between the House and Senate.
“As I walked into the room and took a good look around, what’s abundantly clear is that there appears to be a budget surplus this year,” Weatherford said. “That’s a good thing. We haven’t seen that in a long time.”