PLANT CITY – Following a breakfast that included biscuits and gravy, state lawmakers who represent the Plant City area served up a helping of politics.
State Sen. Tom Lee and state Reps. Dan Raulerson, Jake Raburn and Ross Spano gave a generally upbeat look at Florida’s future at the annual Eggs n’ Issues legislative wrap up breakfast on June 3.
Raulerson said the $77.1 billion budget that the lawmakers recently approved included money for programs that had been cut in lean years. The spending plan also includes about $3 billion for emergencies or to cover future years when times aren’t as good.
Right now, the state is enjoying a better outlook as the economy recovers, Raulerson said.
“We know that there is going to be another economic downturn; we know there is going to be another recession,” he said.
The state’s budget includes $500,000 to help replace the East Hillsborough County government service center, located in a former grocery store next to the Plant City Courthouse.
The project will cost about $9 million, with $8 million coming from the county. The work will include tearing down the building and replacing it with a larger one.
Raulerson said he’s confident the legislature will allocate another $500,000 next year to round out the financing.
Eggs n’ Issues has been sponsored by the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce for more than two decades to give the public a chance to hear first-hand from their lawmakers following each legislative session.
The lawmakers said better times allowed the state to expand the number of so-called sales tax holidays, where buyers don’t have to pay sales tax. A sales tax holiday for hurricane preparedness items concludes June 8; a back-to-school sales tax holiday will run Aug. 1-3; and shoppers will be able to purchase energy-efficient appliances costing $1,500 or less without paying sales tax from Sept. 19-21.
The lawmakers said the new budget included more help for veterans, longer prison terms for violent sexual offenders, support for job training for high school students who don’t plan to go to college and a reduction in vehicle registration fees.