Florida Five: Walker back IN Fla. primary, GOP candidate says New Yorkers will ruin Sunshine State

Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:

scottwalker0304newWalker plans big push in Florida, if he runs – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Tuesday he plans to campaign extensively in Florida if he decides to run for president, walking back a statement he made recently to a radio host that seemed to hint he might skip the state’s GOP presidential primary. Walker appeared at an economic summit in Orlando hosted by Gov. Rick Scott that included seven Republican presidential candidates or expected candidates. Read more

Huck: New Yorkers Will Ruin Florida – During a speech in the happiest place on Earth, Mike Huckabee confessed his was filled with concern. His worry? New Yorkers might wreck Florida, he told the crowd assembled at a Disney World resort for Florida Governor Rick Scott’s first cattle call for presidential contenders. Huckabee began by praising the governor’s job-creation record, but then expressed his trepidation with would-be residents from up North. Read more

Florida House trims Scott’s tax cuts – In an attempt to find a middle ground with the Senate, the House Finance and Tax Committee on Tuesday backed a bill that falls well short of Gov. Rick Scott’s call for $673 million in tax cuts. “The governor’s vigor for tax cuts has been a driving motivation for the Legislature,” Finance and Tax Chairman Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, said. But Gaetz said the House, which backed a $690 million tax-cutting plan during the regular session, has to reach a compromise with the Senate in order to pass a budget in the 20-day special session. Read more

Senate counters House criticism and calls out AHCA for ‘disrespectful’ no-show – The Florida Senate used a budget hearing on its FHIX 2.0 health insurance expansion plan to counter criticism from the House, make the case that the plan saves the state $1 billion, and publicly rebuke the governor’s Agency for Health Care Administration for failing to show up to answer questions. “I find it inexplicable,’’ said Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville. “I don’t know what the reason would be that the Agency for Health Care Administration would not accept an invitation to the senate and engage in this committee.” Read more

High stakes for Bush, Rubio in Florida presidential primary — Leading Republican presidential prospects faced off at an event Tuesday in battleground Florida, a state that could prove pivotal to the Florida heavyweights seeking the nomination, not to mention any rival who manages to win here instead. Jeb Bush, a former two-term Florida governor, and Florida’s junior Sen. Marco Rubio, were the home-state stars at a GOP economic gathering that drew a half dozen White House hopefuls to a Disney World convention center — Rubio, tied up by Senate business, appeared by video. Read more

Bonus! FPL unveils new technologies to restore power quickly after Florida storms

For more Florida political news, visit BPR’s FLORIDA NEWS page

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