TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Facing a constitutional requirement that the state's budget must be balanced, Florida Gov. Bob Martinez asked legislators in a special session Monday to slash $400 million from planned spending and to repeal a controversial tax on services.
The governor received an opinion from Atty. Gen. Bob Butterworth that the state must maintain a balanced budget as lawmakers seek a solution to the tax dispute.
"The obligation to balance the budget falls upon both the Legislature and governor," Butterworth said. "A bill having the effect of creating an unbalanced budget during the fiscal period would . . . violate the Constitution . . . . "
The legislators returned Monday to resume a special session that began last week but was recessed in chaos. Many members of the Democratic-controlled Legislature went home early after two days of partisan bickering.