ATLANTA -- Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles has tapped David K. Coburn, chief of staff of the state House of Representatives, to direct the Florida Office of Planning and Budget.
Mr. Coburn, whose appointment is effective today, succeeds Douglas Cook. Mr. Cook resigned as budget director on Sept. 1 to become director of the state Agency for Health-Care Administration.
Mr. Coburn will put together Gov. Chiles' yearly budget recommendation, oversee state fiscal planning, and administer federal funding received by Florida.
The budget recommendation for fiscal 1994, which begins July 1, 1993, must be presented to legislators on Dec. 18.
Mr. Coburn has served twice as House chief of staff, from April 1988 to November 1988 and from November 1990 to the present. He has also served as staff director for the House Majority Office and the House Rules Committee. The new director has both a law degree and a master's degree in urban and regional planning from Florida State University.
"This position presents both a great challenge and a tremendous opportunity," Mr. Coburn said in a statement. "I look forward to being a member of this administration and helping Gov. Chiles carry out his reform initiatives."
Legislative sources say Mr. Coburn was chosen to help Gov. Chiles renew a tax reform initiative that has run into resistance from lawmakers.
"David is a respected professional who brings to our team years of experience in working with both lawmakers and the state budget," Gov. Chiles said in a statement. "His leadership will be critical as we pursue our reform agenda and confront the additional challenges left in the wake of Hurricane Andrew."
Earlier this year, Gov. Chiles asked lawmakers to consider broadening the state tax base in exchange for a reduction in sales and property tax rates. The package would have raised spending by $1.35 billion. After a bitter fight, lawmakers approved only $300 million in revenue increases.
In a recent letter to legislators, the governor said he will seek at least $150 million in funding to provide matching funds for the hurricane relief package from Washington. He also said the state may need to cover additional unspecified expenses arising from Hurricane Andrew, to be assessed by the Office of Planning and Budget.
These expenses will be discussed during a special legislative session on a hurricane-related issue being planned for mid-November. It is unclear, however, whether tax increases will be sought at that time. Hurricane Andrew, which struck southern Florida on Aug. 24, caused more than $10 billion in damage to private property and public facilities.
William Kynock, deputy director of the Office of Planning and Budget, said last week that the budget office plans to present an estimate of the state's out-of-pocket expenses from the hurricane by the end of October.