TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – The Florida Senate voted down a bill Tuesday which would have privatized about 30 prisons in the southern part of the state.

The measure failed on a 21-19 vote Tuesday evening.

Senate President Mike Haridopolos told lawmakers if the bill does not pass, budget writers will have to come up the $16 million in savings he believes the privatization would result in and find that savings somewhere else.

Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, questioned the amount of savings the deal will bring to the state, and pressed Department of Corrections officials, particularly on the costs associated with privatization – mainly the paying out of due benefits to those officers who leave the employ of the state, either to go work for one of the private companies, or who simply quit or are laid off.

Budget Chairman JD Alexander has made it clear that those who want to kill the privatization effort will have to live with cuts elsewhere, and opponents are girding to see their favorite programs axed from the budget to find the savings.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report


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