Rick Scott, top lawmakers agree on more money for schools, tourism, businesses

Posted June 04, 2017

"I think we have the outlines for a tremendous session, a productive session and one that will do great things for the state of Florida", said Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

And he vetoed $50,000 earmarked for the long-dragging Bunnell-bypass project that would open a highway on the east side of town, from Commerce Parkway's intersection with State Road 100 (at the Wendy's) to US 1 at the south end of town.

With Friday's announcement there is one big budget issue that has yet to be resolved-the fate of the $419 million public schools policy bill (HB 7069).

He said Enterprise Florida will leverage wherever it can.

Yet all of this additional spending is not worth the damage that would be caused by the education legislation that Corcoran covets and Scott evidently agreed to spare. It took him only four days to act on the 2015-16 budget bill, after lawmakers broke an extended deadlock by passing a budget on June 19. It's not as much as Scott wanted, but it does represent a 33 percent increase in spending right away per pupil.

The budget outcome is complicated by a series of related bills, which are not yet in the governor's possession.

Last month, members of the Broward Teachers Union and United Teachers of Dade said the bill cuts money for education and closes schools this summer in order to make room for charter schools.

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Lawmakers waited three weeks to send Governor Rick Scott the state budget. It would give Scott a chance to renew his pitch for $85 million in economic-development incentives and $100 million for tourism-marketer Visit Florida.

In signing the bulk of an $80 billion-plus budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, Scott told reporters the savings from vetoes will help cover a planned increase in public school funding, tourism marketing and economic-development efforts. The exact amount of the budget after the vetoes Friday was not immediately clear. That part also includes $239 million that greatly expands a teacher bonus program known as the Best and Brightest Scholarship. That last occurred in 1970 when lawmakers overrode Gov. Claude Kirk's veto of the annual budget bill.

"I don't think we should be spending what NY is spending or California, and I don't think we should be offering $100 million (incentive deals) or whatever people do".

Lawmakers have tentatively scheduled a special session for mid to late June, in case there is a veto they can override.

Scott said that he will sign the $82.4 billion budget, although he is expected to veto individual spending items.

Scott wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Ken Detzner that he vetoed the citrus canker money due to ongoing litigation. He called for a special session and also played the "veto card" to the tune of more than $400-million dollars!