Published: Mar 29, 2011 5:19 PM EDT
Updated: Mar 29, 2011 2:19 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.- The Senate's proposed budget, which is awaiting final committee approval, would turn 18 more state prisons over to private companies if they want them.

That's the rub, Sen. Mike Fasano said Tuesday.

The New Port Richey Republican who chairs a subcommittee that oversees prison spending said at least one major prison company has indicated to him that it doesn't intend to bid due to the high cost of maintaining Florida's existing prisons.

Fasano's panel proposed a prison budget without the privatization. Budget Committee Chairman JD Alexander unilaterally added it to the bill as a cost-cutting measure before it was published Monday.

Fasano is philosophically opposed to privatizing public safety services and said he will try to remove it when the Budget Committee considers the bill Thursday.

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