Florida Five: Feds snub Scott’s request for mediation, Budget could boost per pupil spending

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

Gov Scott in DCFeds ask judge to reject mediation with Gov. Scott in health-care lawsuit – A day after Gov. Rick Scott sought mediation in a lawsuit about health-care funding, attorneys for the federal government asked a judge Tuesday to reject the request. Scott filed the lawsuit this spring arguing that the Obama administration was trying to link continuation of Florida’s Low Income Pool health-funding program with expansion of Medicaid. Federal officials later said they would approve a two-year continuation of the so-called LIP program at lower funding levels than during the current year. Read more

Budget would boost per pupil spending – House and Senate budget chairmen took over the negotiations on a new state budget Tuesday evening with a host of major issues unresolved, ranging from a new formula to fund hospitals to the details of a $400 million tax-cut package to environmental spending guided by a new constitutional amendment. But after a budget stalemate that ended the regular session in early May, with the Senate and House $4 billion apart in their spending plans for 2015-16, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, and Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, said Tuesday “great progress” has been made with lawmakers on schedule to pass a new state budget well ahead of the July 1 start of the new fiscal year. Read more

Opposition mounts to making state parks self-sufficient — Opposition is mounting over plans to open up Florida’s state parks to cattle grazing and timbering, a move that proponents say will nudge the 171 parks from Pensacola to Key West out of the red and toward self-sufficiency. A op-ed piece signed by three former Florida Park Service directors with a combined 38 years’ experience is among the salvos fired by those against the notion that the $80 million annual parks budget can be offset by grazing leases and timber contracts, relieving taxpayers of part of the burden. Read more

Rubio’s financial woes could be political gold – One presidential candidate and her husband made $30 million since the start of 2014 giving paid speeches. One ran a Fortune 500 company and recently revealed she and her husband had a net worth of $59 million. Another is so wealthy he bragged of owning a Gucci store that was worth more than 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Another worked for multiple multinational banks that earned him millions and was born to a moneyed political dynasty. Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, meanwhile, recently had to liquidate a retirement fund to pay for a new fridge. Read more

Jeb Bush’s son, Jeb Jr., has become a draw for millennials – When former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush started hinting at a run for president, many expected that his rising-political-star scion, George P. Bush, would be a key way for the 62-year-old to connect to younger voters. But that job seems to falling to a son who hasn’t been in the headlines and spotlight nearly as much as George – Jeb Bush Jr., a Florida businessman. Jeb Jr.’s appeal to the younger crowd displayed itself in February at an event in Washington in support of his father’s Right to Rise PAC. Read more

Opinion: Simple purchase won’t save the Everglades

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