TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Vacation time will be over for lawmakers on Monday and a 10-day scramble to pass laws will begin. Money matters will be on the front burner and other high-profile legislation is in doubt.
Sen. Jack Latvala was confident his bill providing in-state tuition for undocumented students was a lock. It only has one more hurdle to clear.
"Negron, Sen. [Joe] Negron, but he won't hold us up," said Latvala. "There's no thought that will happen."
However, it now looks like Negron will block the bill. He chairs the appropriations committee. It leaves the proposal's chances of passing in serious jeopardy.
Gov. Rick Scott has supported the bill from the start of session, mostly because it puts limits on tuition hikes for all students.
"We're going to hold the line on tuition," said Scott.
Scott is bringing serious heat to the in-state tuition issue. Former governors Jeb Bush and Bob Martinez joined Scott to urge lawmakers to pass the proposal.
While in-state tuition legislation may come down to the wire, one thing that needs to be passed will be the budget.
A half-billion dollar tax cut is in the works. State spending watchdog Florida TaxWatch said the House and Senate will have a lot to work on to come to an agreement.
"The sticking point is how long the sales tax holiday will be and what variations of those, and also there are some more broad based tax reliefs the Senate provides," said Florida TaxWatch CEO Dominic Colabro.
Four hundred million dollars of proposed tax cuts are already on their way. A rollback of tag fees that were raised in 2009 was signed by the governor.
The average person will save about $20, but those people who have signed up for a two-year renewal prior to the tax cuts going into effect will most likely not be getting a refund.
Many believe that pressure from the governor and House Speaker on the in-state tuition bill could lead to a last-minute breakthrough, ultimately allowing the bill to pass.
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