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News Story
Updated: 01/09/2018 08:30:02AM

Five issues to watch

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Tampa Bay Times Photo

Bill Galvano

Tampa Bay Times Photo

Richard Corcoran

Tampa Bay Times Photo

FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2013 file photo, a man uses his cell phone as he drives through traffic in Dallas. In a new survey, 98 percent of motorists who own cellphones and text regularly were aware of the dangers, yet three-quarters of them admit to texting while driving, despite laws against it in some states. Two-thirds said they have read text messages while stopped at a red light or stop sign, while more than a quarter said they have sent texts while driving. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

-- NO MAGS, NO SALES -- KRT TRAVEL STORY SLUGGED: UST-VIRGINIACITY KRT PHOTO BY JEBB HARRIS/ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER (L.A. TIMES OUT) (March 15) Bucking the convention, the statue of Lady Liberty who holds the scales of Justice on the Washoe County Court House wears no blindfold in Virginia City, Nevada, in February 2004. (gsb) 2004

A mobile home community is flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Everglades City, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

A house slides into the Atlantic Ocean in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. (Gary Lloyd McCullough/The Florida Times-Union via AP)

An American flag is torn as Hurricane Irma passed through Southwest Florida., Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Cherie Ethier sits in her mobile home with her pets surrounded by floodwater, in the Marco Naples RV Resort in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, in Naples, Fla., Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Tommy Nevitt carries Miranda Abbott, 6, through floodwater caused by Hurricane Irma on the west side of Jacksonville, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11 2017. (Dede Smith/The Florida Times-Union via AP)

This photo shows damage to a home in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Big Pine Key in Florida Keys, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Irma laid waste to beautiful Caribbean islands and caused historic destruction across Florida. The cleanup will take weeks; recovery will take months. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

Alfonso Jose pulls his son Alfonso Jr., 2, in a cooler with his wife Cristina Ventura as they wade through their flooded street to reach an open convenience store in the wake of Hurricane Irma in Bonita Springs, Fla., Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2017 file photo, evacuees are moved to another building with more bathrooms while sheltering at Florida International University ahead of Hurricane Irma in Miami. Students in two of the nation’s largest school districts still don’t know when they’ll return to class, forcing many Florida parents to juggle childcare as they head into a second week of recovering from Hurricane Irma. Miami-Dade and Broward counties had hoped to resume operations Monday, Sept. 18.. But dozens of schools in the two districts , which serve almost 700,000 students, are still without power. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Floodwaters surround a business on US 1 in Rockledge, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, after Hurricane Irma blew through Brevard County. (Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

Janice Connelly of Hollywood, sets up a makeshift memorial in memory of the senior citizens who died in the heat at The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, Fla. (Carline Jean /South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

Elida Dimas looks out at floodwaters from her porch, in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Immokalee, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

By Steve Bousquet

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B UDGET: Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders always have different spending priorities and it’s a high-stakes election year, so the annual battle of the budget could have greater significance in 2018. Scott has proposed an $87.4 billion spending plan for next year, the biggest ever and much more than Florida can afford, House leaders say. The Legislature’s economists warn that revenues face intense pressure from the costs of hurricane recovery.

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