Gov. Rick Scott Unveils 2012 Budget Proposal

Looking every bit the corporate executive he used to be, Governor Scott broke out the charts to explain his controversial new budget.

It's packed with a billion dollars in new money for schools, but to pay for it the governor's calling for a 10 percent cut to Florida's Medicaid program, and we'd have to close a half-dozen prisons.

Scott says doing that is better than raising taxes. As a matter of fact, he'd give manufacturing companies a $35 million tax cut. Those same companies have been telling him more education funding is critical to building a high-quality workforce.

"The money that we put in that they give us as elected officials in the state, they want education to be a priority, so I'm not signing a budget that does not significantly increase state funding for education," the governor said.

But he effectively cut the education budget by $1.3 billion back in May. The proposal now wouldn't even restore funding to where it was a year ago.

That's why critics like Susanna Randolph are already attacking Scott's plan as politically-motivated, as well as one that hurts public safety, the poor and the medically-needy while not doing nearly enough for schools.

"If the governor is really serious about investing in education, he's not just going to invest a ceremonial amount to try to look better and try to get his polls up," Randolph said. "He's going to really invest money by figuring out not only how to put that money in but how to raise revenue."

But it's not likely the governor will be raising that revenue anytime soon.

"You can't expect our taxes are going to be lower if the size of our government's bigger," Gov. Scott said.

He's also calling to pump $300 million into Florida's public pension fund. It's one of the best-performing funds in the nation, but it is 20 percent underfunded, and the governor calls that a problem.

Governor Scott's proposal is only a blueprint for lawmakers. They'll convene their annual legislative session next month, but it could be late February or early March before they pass a spending plan.


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