It’s time for budget presentations in the state

Jim Mooney, Florida House of Representatives Member serving the 120th district, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102/5FM this morning to talk about the goings on in the state.

The legislative session is just about completed, but there’s still work to be done.

Mooney said, “There’s a transportation bill out there. Monroe has taken a neutral position two out of three years on this transportation issue, which it has to do with the MDX, but they brought Monroe County into it for the Loop Road. That said, yesterday I was cruising along and I hear we’re going to withdrawal Monroe County. It’s like time out. You don’t get to do that unless maybe you ask me to do that. Obviously they can do it legally, but I was shocked. I sort of let the freshman know that that’s just not how you should operate. A little bit of the coach came out in me yesterday.”

The state had given the Metro Expressway to Miami-Dade County years ago.

Mooney said, “If the state were to win, Monroe County could actually benefit financially from that position. Understand that this has been drug through court and the state has lost at every level, but it wasn’t really about the win or lose on that particular item. It was about excuse me, please come to me. I’m a big believer in a heads-up to be nice.”

The state is currently in the cooling off period for the budget. All the chairs will present their budgets today.

Mooney said, “For the most part we did very well.”

It looks like the extra funding for the Emergency Operations Center will come through.

Stewardship funds also came through.

Mooney said, “Unfortunately this year Habitat for Humanity did not get funded, for the first time since I’ve been up here. It sort of went across the board around the state like that. I couldn’t get a straight answer from the chair. I think a lot of it had to do with that big housing package where a whole bunch of money has been dumped into it and it’s probably just pulled back on some Habitat requests. I’m disappointed in that, but that said it is unfortunately part of how things work up here.”

Rent assistance to help renters with up-front costs did make it through.

Mooney said, “It was a nice bipartisan vote. I think now that it’s codified and there are some real guardrails about what can and can’t happen and it works both ways – tenant and landlord. Landlords need to be protected as well. We worked hard to make this as balanced and fair and clear and concise as possible.”

Insurance costs still continue to be on the rise. Legislation is still trying to address it.

Mooney said, “It’s just a massive issue and it’s across the state. Every elected official in this building, both sides of the hall, Senate and House, need to see what’s happening in their counties. It’s out of control. It’s a massive issue. I think history will tell you it’s been ongoing for decades. I’m a major proponent that we have got to increase the building standards across the state. We have to show the insurance companies that the state is willing and prepared to do what it takes to get these numbers in line.”

Visit Florida is also in the budget.

Mooney said, “We fought pretty hard. When you look at the money spent by the state and monies brought in to the state, it clearly should be funded.”

Overall, things are looking pretty good for Monroe County.

Mooney said, “Just keep your fingers crossed. We’re looking at close to $60 million coming our way.”