On Tuesday afternoon, House and Senate members received a copy of the $82.3 billion state budget for FY16-17. The receipt of this 447-page document started the clock on a constitutionally-required 72-hour “cooling off” period, which must be completed before a final vote can take place.
That vote is expected to occur this Friday, March 11, bringing an official end to the 2016 Florida Legislative Session. With only three days left, here’s a look at where the Tampa Bay Partnership’s 2016 Legislative Priorities currently stand:
USF Morsani College of Medicine
Status: Construction of the new medical school in downtown Tampa has been funded at the requested $22.5 million.
Manufacturing Machinery & Equipment Sales Tax
Status: A permanent repeal of the sales and use tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment has been included in the budget as part of a $400 million tax cut package, which will be heard by the Senate on Friday.
Enterprise Florida Business Brand Marketing
Status: Enterprise Florida has received $8.5 million of the $10 million requested to market Florida as a leading location for business.
Florida Department of Transportation Five-Year Work Plan (District 1 and 7)
Status: Regional priority projects including Tampa Bay Express (Phase 1), Tampa Bay Premium Transit Options Study, SR 54/56 Corridor Improvements and I-75/University Blvd. Interchange Improvements have been fully funded.
Benderson Rowing Facility
Status: The world-class athletic training and event facility has received $2.5 million in funding for further development.
The success of these items to date is outstanding news for all of Tampa Bay, and a testament to what can be accomplished when speaking with one voice on behalf of the region.
Other agenda items included:
Regional Fare Box and Tampa Bay Business Incubator
Status: Appropriations requests did not move out of committee.
Commercial Lease Sales Tax
Status: Legislation to reduce the sales tax on commercial leases passed the House, but was not included in the final tax cut package sent to the Senate.
In one of the more disappointing developments this session, the legislature failed to fund the Florida Enterprise Fund, which would have provided critical resources to communities competing for high-impact, transformative job creation projects. Despite the vocal and visible efforts of Tampa Bay business and community leaders, in the final version of the budget, the program remains unfunded.
Once approved, the budget will be sent to Governor Scott for review. With vetoes still a possibility, the Partnership will continue to advocate for its regional priorities until the process has concluded.