No visible sign of Florida budget agreement

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — With just a week left to resolve budget issues, lawmakers still haven't begun formal talks.

Gov. Charlie Crist and Senate President Jeff Atwater, though, both said Wednesday they're optimistic the budget will be settled on time. They have until Wednesday, though the session doesn't adjourn until May 1.

Atwater and House Speaker Larry Cretul still haven't agreed on key underlying issues in behind-the-scenes talks.

Lawmakers also don't know if they can count on all the federal stimulus money they budgeted.

Education Commissioner Eric Smith says federal officials are indicating Florida won't get the guidelines necessary to apply for $2.2 billion in stimulus money until May 1. The new budget includes about half of that money.

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