FORT MYERS, Fla.-Florida lawmakers are getting ready for what could be a heated session. Tuesday, Governor Rick Scott gives his State of the State Address and then lawmakers have some tough tasks ahead of them.
The biggest issue is Florida's budget deficit. Lawmakers need to find a way to cover a $3.7 billion short fall. Governor Scott's budget includes $5 billion in spending cuts. It also cuts taxes but eliminates 6700 state jobs. Senate President Mike Haridopolous says lawmakers have a lot to consider in the next few weeks.
"This is going to test the metal of every member of the House and Senate. Republican and Democrat alike. This is a challenging time," said Sen. Haridopolous (R).
Also drawing attention are major changes to the state pension plan. Those changes include requiring state workers to contribute to their pensions and health care. The State of the State Address begins just after 6 p.m. Tuesday night. Watch WINK News for full coverage.
Meantime, supporters and opponents of the governor's plan are expected to be in Tallahassee Tuesday. Opponents are holding protests they call "Awake the State". They say Governor Scott's plan puts the burden of the cuts on Florida's working families. In Southwest Florida, the Cape Coral Firefighters and other public service entities will be hosting the event at Cape Coral City Hall from 5 - 7 pm.
The Teacher's Association of Lee County will hold sign waving rallies at major intersections throughout Lee County. You will see similar protests in Collier County as well.