Governor Rick Scott unveiled his budget proposal to great fanfare before a crowd of tea partiers earlier this week, but Thursday in Tallahassee, lawmakers continued to chip away at what they say are the budget's unrealistic goals. They're already asking Scott to make some major changes if he hopes to win their votes.
There's no question the governor's budget is historic in the amount of spending it would cut and taxes it would lower, but that very fact has made it a lightning rod for lawmakers of both parties.
Thursday at the Capitol, House and Senate budget committees met to dissect the most controversial ideas Scott's proposing. Among them, taking $200 million out of the state's transportation trust fund to help balance the rest of the budget.
Critics say doing that could cost thousands of road construction jobs, at a time when Scott is looking to create jobs.
Some lawmakers are accusing Scott of trying to tax specialized businesses to make his math work, and the powerful chairman of the senate economic development committee put the governor's team on notice.
If they want $800 million to help grow the economy, they'd better be able to prove where it would go.
“I'm talking about the kinds of things that he would have in his business, that he looks at every quarter to know whether he's on track, and that some of the rest of us do to,” said Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville. “Is the governor's office going to propose those metrics of performance, so that we can have a good business discussion about that before we vote?”
In a sign the governor's budget could be in danger of being dramatically amended, next week lawmakers in the house plan to come up with their own list of budget cuts.
In all, Scott's budget proposal would cut $5 billion in spending and reduce taxes by $2 billion.