Governors, Legislatures, and Budgets: Diversity across the American States

By Edward J. Clynch; Thomas P. Lauth | Go to book overview

10
Florida: Miles to Go and Promises to Keep

GLORIA A. GRIZZLE

Chapter 216 of the Florida Statutes stipulates the procedures to be followed in preparing and administering the state budget. This chapter highlights those procedures and uses a few examples to suggest how the major participants in the budget process interact with each other. This budgeting process serves one of the most rapidly growing states in the nation. Florida is now the fourth most populous state and adds a quarter to a third of a million persons to its population each year. The final section of this chapter summarizes the state's fiscal condition, one of the major factors that will influence how participants in the budgeting process will in future years decide who will benefit from what programs and who will bear the burden of paying for these programs.


POLITICAL STRUCTURE

Traditionally a Democratic state, Florida has had only two Republican governors since Reconstruction. Both chambers in the legislature have consistently had Democratic majorities throughout the past century. But party affiliation may be less important than political ideology and the quest for power as indicators of how elected officials behave. Party discipline is not a hallmark of Florida politics, and party affiliation is not a good predictor of how legislators will line up on resource allocation issues.

Twice in recent years a conservative group of Democrats in the Senate has formed a coalition with the Republicans to form a working majority. During the Democratic primary in 1986, the more liberal of the two front runners won the nomination.

Subsequently, a conservative Democratic leader in the Senate openly supported the Republican candidate for governor, and the more conservative loser of the Democratic primary switched to the Republican party after the election and then became the chief of staff for the newly elected Republican governor. Formerly elected as a Democrat to the cabinet post of attorney general, this new chief of

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