House, Senate differ sharply over agricultural water spending in their budget proposals
The proposed House and Senate fiscal year 2014-15 budgets are close on several key programs within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services budget but are far apart on the department's water programs.
The House budget would provide $47.7 million for agricultural water policy programs including $34.3 million from general revenue. The Senate budget includes $20.5 million for those programs including $7.1 million from general revenue.
The House water programs proposal provides $24.5 million for agricultural nonpoint source best management practices including $5 million for springs, $3 million for the Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers and $1.5 million for the Bessey Creek hybrid wetland treatment system.
The Senate proposal provides $16.5 million for those programs with the only specified spending being $3 million for the Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers.
In addition, the House provides $9 million for hybrid wetlands treatment projects in the Everglades region and $10 million for Okeechobee restoration and agricultural projects.