Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

GROWTH; No Easy Way Out

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

GROWTH; No Easy Way Out

Article excerpt

The timing couldn't be better for $2.2 billion in unexpected state revenues to drop into Florida's lap.

Not only does the windfall from Florida's booming real estate and hurricane recovery efforts give Florida more budgetary wiggle room, but it also boosts Gov. Jeb Bush's bid for stronger growth management measures.

Bush is recommending to the Legislature that $1 billion of the extra money be earmarked for new roads now with voters being asked in November to approve a 10-year bond to cover $8.5 billion more in roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure.

In addition, Bush is recommending that local governments be allowed to raise taxes to cover local roads, schools and water needs without obtaining voter approval.

That proposal is a sharp turn from Bush's previous stands that all tax increases should be approved by voters. By nature, Florida's Republican Legislature resists any form of tax increase, while some local government officials are complaining that the local component of his plan simply passes the buck. …

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