My Crystal Ball and the Florida Legislative Special Session: It’s a Great Success

My Crystal Ball and the Florida Legislative Special Session: It’s a Great Success

On June 1, as the special session was getting under way,  I made five predictions about how the session would turn out.

Here’s how those predictions turned out:

Each chamber will “entertain” some legislative proposals put forward by the other chamber in the same manner that a cat “entertains” a captive lizard (this is Florida, after all). They won’t be treated as DOA, but they will be just as dead when the entertaining is done.

Well, the House entertained the Senate’s FHIX, which was NOT, I repeat, NOT Medicaid expansion (to paraphrase various state senators). The House called it Medicaid expansion and, after having some rhetorical fun at the Senate’s expense, they killed it.

Not to be outdone on this subject, the Senate Health Policy Committee “discussed” a number of House bills related to health care . . . and declined to vote on any of them. All of them, dead.

I’d rate this one CORRECT.

Both chambers will vote to accept the federal LIP money being offered.

To quote the old Grey Poupon ad, “But of course.” CORRECT

The governor’s plan for redistribution of LIP money will be another lizard in the cat’s paws. When the House and Senate are done with the LIP allocation, it will bear little resemblance to the governor’s plan (and be closer to what we have been doing, possibly with some tweaks toward hospitals important to more powerful members of the Legislature), but they will deliver it to his desk in the same way the family cat might plop that unrecognizable lizard carcass on the kitchen floor. And, after perhaps finding a line item or two related to LIP funding to veto, the governor will be compelled to accept it.

Governor Scott went to war with hospitals after the regular legislative session ended, convening a hand-picked group of individuals with almost no experience in the health care industry to examine hospitals’ financials and service delivery. He also proposed a radically altered approach to the allocation of LIP money to help cover the cost of care for the uninsured.

Neither seems to have had much impact on the budget.

The ultimate compromise between the House and Senate involves a combination of federal, state and local funds to produce an expenditure that is somewhat less than last year’s. But the distribution formula appears to reflect past practices and work toward a transition to a future without LIP, rather than the radical redistribution proposed by the governor.

The last word I saw on the response from the governor’s office was that the legislatively approved plan was under review.

So call this one PARTIALLY CORRECT, PARTIALLY IN PROCESS. But I’m still betting the governor will have to accept it.

 

Both chambers will find a way to adopt some sort of tax cut, and the governor will proclaim it one of his successes of the session.

Yup. As soon as the House and Senate passed the package of roughly $400 million in tax cuts, Governor Scott signed it, with Sunshine State News trumpeting praise from various quarters for a job well done. Interestingly, the Sunshine State News asserts that the governor got almost everything that he wanted, suggesting the difference between what the governor sought ($470 million) and what was adopted, despite the financial crunch resulting from the reduction in LIP funding, was only $40 million.

Actually, the governor originally proposed $673 million in tax cuts. The $470 million figure was specifically about one tax cut, on cellphone and TV service. He didn’t get much of that, either; Reuters reported that the effective value of the tax cut on communication services will be $226 million … less than half of what the governor sought.

But hey, it’s a great success, isn’t it?

Call this one CORRECT.

A balanced budget will pass before the fiscal year ends.

As I’m writing, we don’t know, but the odds are good. Rate this one: ALMOST CERTAINLY CORRECT

None of these predictions were that hard to make. For all the drama coming into the special session, the larger forces at work in our state capital are pretty recognizable. So I’m happy with my batting average, but not too impressed.

And you shouldn’t be either.

But, hey, it’s a great success, isn’t it?

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