TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Lawmakers took to Tallahassee with a budget surplus this year and now are pushing for more funding in critical areas like education.
The Florida House and Senate released their proposed budgets for 2014-2015. There are several differences, but both hope to cut $500 million worth of taxes for Floridians.
Representative Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland, is chair of the House Appropriations Committee, which handles the budget. On their end, the budget is seeing an increase of more than $1 billion dollars from the current fiscal year.
"Certainly positive news that the state is recovering economically," McKeel said. "We had a surplus last year and we have a little bit bigger surplus this year, so clearly Florida's economy is turning around."
FSU professor and economist Randall Holcombe said two particular issues most likely will benefit greatly from the new budget.
"It's nice that we have the revenue coming in that's providing this surplus," Holcombe said. "One is tax cuts and I think that's always beneficial to keep as much money in the private sector of the economy and the other is education."
Both budgets tout a large increase in education funding and the $500 million tax cut.
"Last week, before we went home for the weekend, we passed off the floor of the house a $400 million tax cut that was primarily made up of a rollback of some auto registration fees," Rep. McKeel said.
From here, the House and Senate will vote on their separate budgets, then come together and agree on one final budget before it goes to Governor Rick Scott.