State spending on health care and social services has grown too much over the past three decades at the expense of other parts of the budget, particularly education and priorities need to be adjusted, the chairman of the Senate committee in charge of the Health and Human Services budget said Wednesday. Sen. Joe Negron, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee's subcommittee on Health and Human Services Appropriations, sent a strong signal that he plans to cut his own budget deeply, a departure from the usual, where budget committee chairmen often become cheerleaders for their own part of the budget over others. Negron ran through a history Wednesday, showing how health and human services spending was 20 percent of the budget in 1977 while education spending made up 40 percent of the budget. Now, education has dropped to 32 percent of the budget, while HHS spending has doubled to 40 percent. "I think there needs to be a transfer in priority in revenue from health and human services to education" and other parts of the budget, including corrections and transportation, said Negron, R-Stuart. “I’d like to see us with several billion less in HHS.” Negron said later he thought health care lobbyists had done a better job making their case over the years than education lobbyists, pointing out that health care lobbyists are good at painting “apocalypses” as results of health care budget cuts.
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