TALLAHASSEE (by Alan Spector/FLA. NEWS NETWORK) -- The latest session of the Florida Legislature is history.
State lawmakers adjourned Friday night after passing a a nearly $77.1 billion budget. It's almost 3.5 percent bigger than the spending package they approved last year.
Among the highlights:
Public-school spending was increased by $575 million or about $176 per student. And about $600 million is allocated for construction projects at public schools, colleges and universities.
The legislature cut taxes and fees by $500 million. That includes a rollback in auto tag and registration fees that will save most motorists about 25 dollars. Also approved were tax holidays for shopping for back-to-school, energy-efficient appliances and hurricane preparation supplies.
$170 million is set aside for environmental projects, including protection for the Indian River Lagoon from Lake Okeechobee discharges and beach restoration.
Former governor and current Democratic candidate for governor, Charlie Crist, is not pleased with the budget. Crist issued a statement saying that more money should go to schools and calling on Governor Rick Scott to call lawmakers back into a special session for that purpose.