Debate opening on compromise Fla. budget

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The Florida House has begun debating a
compromise state budget that would spend $66.5 billion.

Representatives met Thursday to discuss and argue over the
spending plan for the budget year that begins July 1 before taking
a final vote Friday.

The Senate had no session scheduled for Thursday. Senators were
to vote on the budget Friday to close a one-week extension of the
2009 legislative session.

To stay in balance, the budget relies on $5.3 billion in federal
stimulus money, a $1-a-pack cigarette tax increase and a variety of
fee hikes, mostly on motorists and court filings.

Some lawmakers say the tax and fee increases are putting too
heavy a burden on average citizens.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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