The old Florida capitol (Pic by Diligent Terrier, via Wikimedia Commons)

In a 79-38 vote, the Florida House passed its general appropriations bill today.

The bill, at the request of the governor, increased K-12 education spending by $1.1 billion and decreased health services spending by $54 million.

Democrats have long criticized the proposed budget because it gives tax breaks to big companies while eliminating funding for many public services. Democrats have claimed that forcing a decision between increasing education spending and maintaining health services funding is a “false choice.” Lawmakers echoed those sentiments today on the House floor. State Rep. Even Jenne, D-Fort Lauderdale, said the GOP-led Legislature was using “voodoo economics” to balance the budget.

Republicans disputed claims that the budget is unfair. Many lawmakers said their top priority was not raising taxes during hard times, necessitating tough cuts.

The House budget maintains funding for Healthy Start Coalitions, crisis pregnancy centers and family planning grants to local governments — but eliminates state grants for local homeless coalitions and a federal grant for home visiting programs that act as child abuse prevention.

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