Florida Senate Spending Plan Much Bigger Than House

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The GOP-controlled Florida Senate is calling for a nearly $70.8 billion state budget for the coming year.

The Senate late Friday rolled out its spending blueprint for 2012.

The proposed Senate budget is nearly $1.6 billion larger than the one passed this week by the Florida House.

One reason for the bigger bottom line is that the Senate wants to place the budgets of expressway authorities in Orlando and Tampa under legislative control.

Both the Senate and House budgets boost state spending on public schools by more than $1 billion.

But the Senate is also dipping into an endowment set up by former Gov. Jeb Bush with proceeds from the state’s landmark settlement with tobacco companies. The Senate wants to use $265 million from the fund to balance the budget.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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