Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.
With the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts bearing down on the 2021 Legislative Session, new Senate President Wilton Simpson asks Senators to take a scrupulous look at budget priorities for the next fiscal year.
With a $5.4 billion budget shortfall expected over the next two years, the President’s first remarks after officially being named the Senate’s leader for that period primarily focused on the need to “tighten our belts” as a result of the pandemic. He gave few specifics during his speech but let loose some of his thoughts later while speaking with reporters.
Senators will look to the 2008 Session for insights on how to balance the state budget amid an economic shortfall. Florida’s K-12 expenses are now 10 times what they were in the wake of the 2008 Great Recession, Simpson noted.
“Clearly, that is a place where we spend a lot of resources when we had times of plenty, and now we’re in times of lean, and it’s something we’re going to have to look at,” he said.
Raising state college tuition is another “viable opportunity” for the new President. Florida