Orlando, Fla. -- The Florida Senate Wednesday passed a $10.9 billion no-new taxes budget almost certain to trigger a veto by Gov. Lawton Chiles.
The House of Representative took up the Senate's version of the budget yesterday, and legislative sources said the representatives would likely accept the $10.9 billion spending package.
The House is expected to approve the budget early next week, but Gov. Chiles has vowed to reject any spending plan that does not include $1.5 billion in new taxes.
The governor has insisted that the new taxes are necessary to avoid debilitating cutbacks in education and health-care services. A spokesman for the governor yesterday said Gov. Chiles is prepared to follow through on the veto threat.
But if a veto does occur, legislative sources said, lawmakers appear to have the votes needed for an override.
If the Legislature fails to approve a budget by next Wednesday, the beginning of Florida's 1993 fiscal year, officials would have to begin shutting down state government.
"We seem to have a classic standoff here," a legislative aide who declined to be identified said yesterday. "The Senate has insisted on no new taxes, and the governor stands by his call for the $1.3 billion. I don't see how we can avoid a veto and then an override."
Last week, the House leadership attempted to fashion what it considered to be its own compromise with the governor, approving a budget with no new taxes and then a compromise $516 million tax increase. Gov. Chiles called the House budget unacceptable.
On Wednesday, after the Senate passed its no-new-taxes spending plan, it took up a separate appropriations bill that proposed additional spending of $747.6 million in a compromise effort. That proposal was killed by a 21-to-17 vote.
In a related development, Standard & Poor's Corp. reaffirmed its AA rating for Florida's outstanding general obligation debt. The rating was affirmed as the state prepares to sell $306.8 million of public education capital outlay refunding bonds. Jon Reichert, a Standard & Poor's director, said he does not anticipate that Florida's debt rating would be affected by a late budget, because debt service on the state's GO bonds would still be covered by ongoing appropriations.