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It’s Official: Gridlock in Florida Legislative Session in 2015

Roger Caldwell

Roger Caldwell

It’s Official: Gridlock in Florida Legislative Session in 2015

By Roger Caldwell  

The planned adjournment date of the legislative session is usually May 1st, but this year the two Houses will be forced to extend that date. The Florida Constitution requires the Florida Legislature to pass a balanced budget, and at this time there is a difference between the two Houses of $2 to $4 billion. There is a multi-billion difference in the two Houses and Senate President, Andy Gardiner and Speaker of the House, Steve Crisafulli must resolve their issues and problems.

The primary job of the Florida Legislature is to pass a balanced budget, which is composed of two components; income and expenses. Expenses represent the cost to fund the state, and income is derived from taxes, fees, and visitors’ spending money. Floridians send more money to the federal government than to the state, and it makes common sense to get a return from Washington when they are willing to give.

Andy Gardiner is challenging the governor, the Speaker of the House, and members of the House of Representatives to change their positions on health care and Medicaid. There are billions of dollars that the federal government is willing to allocate and fund Florida with if the state has a plan for health care insurance. It makes no sense to refuse $51 billion from the federal government when they ask to be provided with an insurance plan that expands Medicaid.

The state of Florida sends billions of dollars to the federal government to help fund our nation’s priorities. The federal government for the last two years is willing to return billions of the funds back to the state, but our leaders have refused to comply with Washington’s requirements.

In an article written by Senator Garrett Richter entitled “It’s Our Money and We Deserve a Return,” he explains why the Senate proposal provides a solution to the challenges of health care in Florida. Senator Richter argues that Floridians have a financial partnership with the state and the federal government. If Floridians pay money to the federal government, and they are willing to give us some back, we should take advantage of their goodwill.

“Let’s not lose sight of how we get a return on our tax dollars and let’s not lose sight of our values and what our priorities are. The Florida Senate has crafted a proposal that can return billions of Floridians money to Florida. A two-pronged approach to meet the guidelines that were communicated a year ago to continue one source of income, the Low Income Pool (LIP), and another proposal for us to get more of our money back by establishing an insurance plan that provides 800,000 Floridians to pay affordable monthly premiums,” says Senator Richter.

The Senate agrees with the House that the plan is not perfect, but “No” is not a solution to Florida’s health care problems. Floridians have a financial partnership with both our state and the federal government, and we should take advantage of any funds the federal government is willing to give back to our state. The House must follow the lead from the government and make Medicaid expansion a reality in Florida. It is time to cut a good deal with the federal government and get some of our money back.


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