Budget Cutting Special Session Begins

By: Mike Vasilinda
By: Mike Vasilinda

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.

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  • by dogtired on Jan 6, 2009 at 09:01 AM
    Hey, that's not a bad idea. Increasing driver's license fees by only a dollar would probably generate $12-14 MILLION dollars once all existing drivers have renewed.
  • by Me Location: Around the Capitol on Jan 5, 2009 at 06:17 PM
    Has anyone thought about certain fees we pay? How about your DL? It costs next to nothing to renew. That's something that could go up a few extra $ across the board and not hurt one particular person or group of people. There are many things that should be looked at. Why don't you ask some of us down here at the bottom?
  • by spock Location: saturn on Jan 5, 2009 at 04:47 PM
    Can we add people who use cell phones while driving, not using blinkers and not turning on lights when it's foggy, like today. They could make up a lot of local money there.
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