Eagle speaks at joint CCCIA, Council for Progress meeting
State Rep. Dane Eagle got up bright and early to speak Friday morning at a joint breakfast meeting of the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association and the Cape Coral Council for Progress to discuss the legislative session and how it will impact his constituents.
Eagle said the main job of the state Legislature is to pass a balanced budget, but with Democrats and Republicans in disagreement over healthcare spending, specifically Medicaid, getting that job accomplished by July 1 proved troublesome as the Senate and House could not agree.
“Medicaid is aimed at the needy, disabled, children. Some believe healthcare should be provided for all and I believe it should be provided for those who need it,” Eagle said. “We shouldn’t be giving anyone handouts but hand-ups to get them back on their feet.”
In the end, Eagle said they passed a budget without Medicaid expansion and $400 million in tax cuts that would fund economic development, health care and increase education spending by $800 million.
Locally Eagle said he was able to pass eight water projects in Pine Island without a line-item veto and other projects that will benefit Southwest Florida.
Unfortunately, Eagle was not successful in getting other bills signed, such as a building codes bill, as the budget fight took precedent.
Eagle wanted to eliminate blower door testing, a second fire-service elevator and maintainable ventilation from many of the federal codes.
“That was part of the collateral damage. We decided not to negotiate and a lot of bills died. I’m going to bring it up again in September in an omnibus bill,” Eagle said. “These things that are for safety are going to cost you tons of money.”
One bill that did pass was for blanket permitting, allowing a bigger developer to build spec homes in a number of places with one permit to save time and money.
“These are ideas we’re always looking for in Tallahassee to make your lives easier and business less costly,” Eagle said. “We have new, fresh ideas from those who know they have a limited amount of time to get them done because of term limits.”
Regarding Amendment 1 and the controversial U.S. sugar land that is supposed to send water in Lake Okeechobee south to the Everglades instead of east and west down the Caloosahatchee, Eagle said the state had better ways to spend that money.
“There’s nothing I’d like to see more than to have clean waterways. Purchasing the land isn’t the best use of money right now,” Eagle said. “We were focused on the C-43 reservoir to store the runoff and manage and release it when we have to.”
Eagle said it was nice to see the two organizations coming together to allow him to speak, and that it’s important to keep the momentum going.
“We have an elected body that understands by not having as much regulation for business allows them to do what they need to do,” Eagle said. “We need to continue electing leaders that understand that. Let’s have the best taxing environment so we can be the best place to live, work and play.”