By: James Buechele
April 12, 2013
Tallahassee, FL - The Florida Legislature is heading into final negotiations on a new $74 billion budget.
Florida's House voted 99-17 Friday on its spending plan. The Florida Senate passed its budget earlier this week which leads to final debate on a combined budget. The budget is for July 2013 until June 2014.
The House and Senate are differing on how to give state workers a pay raise for the first time in six years.
The Senate has proposed a three percent across the board raise. But the House is offering a $1,000 a year increase as well as a $400 bonus based on merit.
"It's time that when we have a record budget $74 billion budget that we find room in there for our state employees," said Rep. Alan Williams (D) Tallahassee.
One of the most talked about issues has been the pay increase for state workers.
"It's going to be a good session for the workers of our state," said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) Fort Walton Beach. "It's just a matter of how much money is paid and how it will be paid."
"We have to go in and negotiate with our Senate who they also have a budget and then we have to find out what's best for the state of Florida," said Williams.
Lawmakers have until May to finalize a budget for Governor Rick Scott to sign.