Shortly after gaveling the house into special session, House Speaker Ray Sansom ended the two months of controversy he created when he took a six figure job from a hometown Destin college after steering 25 million to the school.
“I have decided to resign from my position as the Vice President of Northwest Florida State College,” Sansom said.
The resignation allows lawmakers to focus on cutting the budget without answering for Sansom’s largess. In committee, nearly half a billion was being axed from schools. That’s 100 million more than the governor recommended.
“It’s a little bit under 140 dollars per student. Believe me when I say that this is not something anybody wants to do,” Rep. Anitere Flores said.
One floor up, parents of developmentally disabled children made pleas for their children’s well being.
“I’m here to basically, respectfully ask that we do not cut anymore,” Ven Sequenzia Jr., president of the Autism Society of Florida, said. “I mean, we’re going to be having, I’m sure there are deaths, I’m not trying to be alarmist.”
“We need to look for other revenues,” Betty Clemons with Kare said.
A plan to hike the cigarette tax is off the table, but Senate Budget leaders say keeping the courts functioning is likely to cost speeders.
“Right now we’re looking at increasing traffic fines about 25 dollars,” Senator Victor Crist said.
The day began with a Capitol shrouded in fog. The fate of the budget may remain foggy until the final vote a week from Friday.