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Sen. Tom Lee warns 'poison pills' could bring budget to standstill

With just a few weeks remaining for lawmakers in Tallahassee to pass a state budget, the Senate’s appropriations chairman says there are issues that some in his chamber need to give up on, lest the whole process come to a standstill yet again.

“There are some poison pills that if you put them in that tax package they could have a very deleterious effect on the outcome of this session,” Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, said Monday. “There are some things that if they rear their ugly head, if you will, down here and go back down to the House, they could be very problematic.”

Among them: tax credits for the entertainment industry and sports stadium subsidies that have been opposed by conservative House leaders and Lee, but have been supported by many in the Senate.

Lee’s concern mostly has to do with items being tacked onto the House’s $400 million tax cut bill, which the Senate will take up this week. He called it one of the the “linchpins” to the budget process.

But film and entertainment tax credits could come up in budgeting itself as House and Senate leadership prepare to take over negotiations from the subcommittees that have been meeting this week.

The Senate has repeatedly put forward $10 million for a new quick-action fund that would allow the state’s film commissioner to circumvent the existing program for doling out incentives to bring movie and TV projects to Florida.