Sen. Bradley says lawmakers in ‘good shape’ on budget


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Senate Appropriations Chairman Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, offered little detail on budget talks with the House but expressed confidence Wednesday that the spending plan will get completed as the legislative session approaches its final two weeks.

“We’re in good shape right now,” Bradley told reporters. “We’re in fine shape in week seven (of the 60-day session), and I’m confident that we’re going to resolve (the budget) either on time or very near that.”

The Senate has proposed a $92.83 billion spending package while the House came in at $91.37 billion. Negotiators have to work out differences on big-ticket issues such as pay for state workers and teachers, the use of affordable-housing dollars, spending on the Florida Forever land-preservation program, a House push to eliminate the tourism-marketing agency Visit Florida, and hospital funding.

“We’ve had very fruitful discussions with the governor’s office and the House on a myriad of things, including teacher pay,” Bradley said.

A short time earlier, Bradley told senators that conference committees are not anticipated to negotiate this weekend.

“Overall, things continue to be in a good posture, and I look forward to us having a successful end when it comes to the budget and other matters,” Bradley said.

The session is scheduled to end March 13, with the budget needing to be completed by March 10 because of a 72-hour “cooling off” period.