Clock ticking on Florida legislators to reach budget deal

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — With a deadline looming, Florida legislators are finally going to start negotiations over a new state budget.

The Florida House on Thursday voted 89-26 for an $81 billion budget. The Senate unanimously approved its budget one day earlier.

House Democrats who voted against the budget said it directs too much money to charter schools and doesn’t do enough to help state workers.

The two chambers controlled by Republicans have wide differences in their rival spending plans. The House and Senate differ on everything ranging from school property taxes to health care budget cuts and economic development. The Senate budget is $4 billion higher.

Legislators have less than three weeks left in their annual session to reach a budget deal. State law requires a final version of the budget to be finished 72 hours before it can be voted on.

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