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Senate budget chairman: Still no budget deal with House


To hear Tom Lee tell it, House and Senate leaders aren't much closer to beginning budget negotiations than they were last night.

Speaking after a day-long appropriations meeting, the Senate budget chairman, a Republican from Brandon, said he and House budget chairman Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, didn't negotiate Thursday.

"I haven't really talked to him all day," Lee said.

The two are planning to talk in the evening, however.

With two weeks remaining in session, time's ticking for the budget, and two major sticking points have caused problems between the chambers: the details of a tax cut package and money for Gov. Rick Scott's top-priority economic development fund.

Lee would not disclose the details of tax cut negotiations, but he said it's time for the House and Senate to find some sort of agreement.

"We're working against the clock and so ultimately we'll have to come up with some sort of compromise to get to conference," he said.

In the meantime, lawmakers have been told they should stay in Tallahassee at least through Friday in the event that budget conference committee negotiations can begin this weekend.