Florida Library Funding

I just got an e-mail from the Florida Library Association. Below is the main part of the text. State funding on library programs will be decided over the next week by budget conferees, who are responsible for negotiating House and Senate budget positions and developing a budget to send to Governor Crist. A list of budget conferees, with contact information, is attached to this email. If your Representative and/or Senator are budget conferees, it is particularly important that you contact them and seek their support for library programs. Below is the current status of House and Senate recommendations for library program funding. Please review this information and CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS AND COMMUNICATE YOUR POSITION ON STATE FUNDING FOR LIBRARIES. STATE AID TO PUBLIC LIBRARIES GRANTS House Appropriations Bill HB5001 – $30,670,289 ($1.33 million cut from FY06/07) Senate Appropriations Bill SB2800 – $31,999,233 (same funding as FY06/07) Contact members of the Conference Committee to increase State Aid to $41,999,233 as recommended by FLA PUBLIC LIBRARY CONSTRUCTION GRANTS House Appropriations Bill HB5001- $0 Senate Appropriations Bill SB2800 – $10.5 million Contact members of the Conference Committee to award $13,500,000 in order to fund all pending construction applications as recommended by FLA LIBRARY COOPERATIVE GRANTS House Appropriations Bill HB5001 – $1,200,000 Senate Appropriations Bill SB2800 – $2,400,000 Contact members of the Conference Committee to support the Senate and FLA recommendations of $2.4 million COMMUNITY LIBRARIES IN CARING GRANTS House Appropriations Bill HB5001 – $100,000 Senate Appropriations Bill SB2800 – $100,000 Contact members of the Conference Committee to support $200,000 as recommended by the FLA You may notice the key number above is the the fact the House appropriated $0 dollars for new library construction this year. In Florida, qualifying projects are awarded up to $500,000 in state funding, so without looking at the list, this probably puts 21 expansion or new library buildings in jeopardy. For a little more background on what is going on in the Florida Legislature:
bq.The Florida Senate unanimously passed its bipartisan property tax overhaul package without debate Thursday, setting up negotiations with a House split mainly along party lines on a key part of its very different plan. That element is a proposed state constitutional amendment (HJR 7089) that would trade property tax relief on primary homes, known as homesteads, for sales tax increases. The Senate plan has no such tax swap. – “Senate Unanimously Passes Tax Overhaul Plan(Senate Unanimously Passes Tax Overhaul Plan)”:http://www.nbc6.net/news/12499192/detail.html The ironic thing is that both houses are firmly controlled by the Republican Party and have been for years. All we can hope for right now is that the Senate version is the one that gets through.

Posted by Michael K Pate

Michael K. Pate tends to spend a great deal time of time around computers. He has been a Librarian since 1997. Michael was born in Avon Park, Florida in 1966. Except for a couple of brief periods in his life (once in Tampa and once in Winter Haven/Haines City), he has been a life-long resident. Originally, he planned on a career as a Computer Programmer and therefore graduate from Webber College with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems in 1988. However, unhappy with career opportunities at the time, he soon returned to school and received a BS in Social Science Education from the University of South Florida. He began his career in education at Avon Elementary and later Avon Park Middle working as a Computer Lab Coordinator. While technological challenges were interesting, he found himself more and more interested in becoming a Media Specialist. He began work on his MLS in 1995. However, a summer internship at the Sebring Public Library in 1996 soon made him reconsider just what his career should be. Upon graduation in 1997, he secured a position as a Media Specialist at Eastside Elementary in Haines City. Eventually, the position he was looking for opened up and he returned to SPL as Reference Librarian in 1999. In 2003, he became Assistant Director of the Highlands County Library System, serving in that role until the position was eliminated during a late round of budget cuts in 2010. Since then, he has been the Computer Support Specialist for the Heartland Library Cooperative. In 2011, he began serving on the Board of Directors of the Tampa Bay Library Consortium.