Politico by Bruce Ritchie
April 28, 2017
State Rep. Loranne Ausley on Friday compared House Speaker Richard Corcoran’s vows to improve transparency in the budget process to “empty promises” after not being given an explanation at a conference subcommittee meeting.
She’s joining Gov. Rick Scott and some news media in criticizing the budget process and budget agreements being struck behind closed doors by Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron.
During the environmental conference subcommittee meeting Friday morning, Ausley, a Democrat from Tallahassee, asked for an explanation of the differences between the House and Senate budget offers.
But she was told by state Sen. Rob Bradley, a Republican from Fleming Island who was the subcommittee chairman, that an explanation would be provided at the next meeting, which has not been scheduled. The House and Senate agreed during the meetings to provide no funding to the Florida Forever conservation lands program.
Ausley, who served in the House from 2000 to 2008, told reporters afterwards that the lack of explanation during the meeting was different than when she previously was a legislator.
And she later issued a statement quoting Corcoran as saying, “No longer will we have to tolerate last-minute appropriations being stuck into our budget with little or no public scrutiny.”
“All the lofty speeches we heard,” Ausley said, “about the new era of openness and transparency that would be brought to the budget process this year were apparently nothing more than meaningless words. Instead, the priorities of two people are taking precedence over the priorities of the people of Florida.”
She also said policy changes being dealt with affect hospitals, schools, state employees and the environment.
“Floridians are tired of the empty promises that have become the status quo in Tallahassee over the last twenty years and it’s now clear this will not be the year anything changes,” she said. There was no immediate response to a request for comment from Corcoran. [READ MORE]