WTVY  | Dothan, AL  | Politics, News

Gov. Rick Scott Signs "Jobs" Budget

As he did when he unveiled his budget proposal back in February, Gov. Scott is coming home to his base to sign the final product. Here in the villages, most folks are ecstatic about a governor who polls show statewide is anything but popular.

So, against a backdrop of hundreds of cheering supporters, Scott put the finishing touch on what he's dubbing Florida's jobs budget.

Critics take issue with that phrasing, arguing $4 billion worth of cuts will only destroy jobs.

Public schools will take more than a billion dollar hit, college tuition's going up by a minimum of eight percent, and public sector workers now have to pay into their pensions --that's essentially a 3 percent pay cut.

But Scott says all that, combined with more than $300 million in tax cuts, will get government out of the way, allowing the private sector to create jobs.

“The Legislature had to find a way to compromise with their colleagues to get the job done,” Scott said. “In the end, they came through and delivered a budget that cuts spending and delivers tax relief to individuals and to businesses.”

Despite tight times, lawmakers also managed to include hundreds of millions worth of 'turkeys' - Tallahassee's term for pork barrel projects - and Scott didn't look kindly on those, using his line item veto to kill 615 million in spending he didn't think was appropriate.

The real figure's about half that if you account for what might be called the governor's fancy math, but it's still a record amount.

Democrats call the republican budget 'radical' and are already hinting Scott's action could become an issue on the campaign trail.

“It's nothing more than Rick Scott and his Tea Party Republicans trying to impose their extreme agenda on our state rather than doing what's right, rather than trying to help Floridians during these tough economic times,” said Eric Jotkoff.

About those projects vetoed by the governor: They include $19 million worth of campus enhancements at the University of Central Florida and a $10 million plan to get moving on a school of pharmacy at USF-Lakeland.

Gov. Scott also decided to take $150 million intended for road construction and use it to stem the pain from the education cuts. Transportation advocates are already criticizing that move. And House Speaker Dean Cannon says under Florida law, that money cannot be used for education.


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