Scott Signs Budget, Calls for Special Session

Gov. Rick Scott center announces the budget compromise Friday with House Speaker Richard Corcoran far left Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez Cantera and Senate President Joe Negron far right at Miami International Airport. The Legislature will vote on the plan

Scott Signs Budget, Calls for Special Session

And by using his veto leverage the governor appears to have successfully secured more than $100 million into his pet programs, Enterprise and Visit Florida, which give money to companies in exchange for job creation.

"Businesses and site selectors have taken notice of the Florida Legislature's decision to turn their backs on the incredible return on investment economic-development programs like Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida have brought to our state", Scott said in a prepared statement May 16.

The downside for Scott in such a scenario is that eliminating budget line items does nothing to restore funding for his priorities, including economic incentives, tourism and public education. The House and Senate were unable to reach a compromise on implementing rules before the regular session ended. There was speculation the governor might veto the entire budget. Scott also vetoed $37.4 million that was going to go to homeowners in two counties whose healthy citrus trees were torn down in a failed attempt to eradicate citrus canker.

But Florida Power and Light executive Eric Silagy says the agency's marketing dollars are well spent in comparison to other large states like California, New York and Texas.

State college advocates are also asking Scott to veto their $1.2 billion portion of the budget, with the hope it would force lawmakers to restore a $30 million cut in remedial-education funding for the 28-school system.

"People are going to be outraged by this", said Pollara, the executive director of Florida for Care, an organization backed by the medical marijuana industry.

And it has been a fight, a political slug fest, between the governor and the speaker.

Scott said he had been having conversations with Corcoran and Negron for months and feels this process was necessary. Along with rejecting Scott's request for business-incentive money, the budget would reduce the agency's funding for general operations from $23.5 million in the current year.

However, some senators told the Times/Herald they expect Scott to sign it, and House Republicans who helped craft the bill emphasized Scott's record as a proponent of school choice expansion.

Legislative leaders want to have the outlines of a deal worked out on medical marijuana before committing to tackling the issue again.

Visit Florida was cut by two thirds and Enterprise Florida received nothing for incentives. "The governor and the legislative leaders who cooked up these changes and called for a special session are not addressing the needs of the parents and students in this state", she said. Otherwise, regulation would be left up to the Florida Department of Health.

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