State budget surplus could be boon for Tampa Bay area projects
After six anemic years, next year's state budget has a surplus, meaning legislators are scrambling to secure funds for pet projects and local line items.
As legislative budget conferences' negotiations ended Tuesday, at least $10 million was snared in Tampa Bay area spending that agency budgets hadn't included.
House and Senate leaders agreed to spend $400,000 for the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, a nonprofit outfit that runs a business incubator in Largo. The new money would pay for another incubator in St. Petersburg. Also set aside: $1 million for the renovation of Clearwater's Capitol Theatre, built in 1921 and operated by Ruth Eckerd Hall, which is in line for another $500,000 for its Murray Studio Theater. The Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg has been approved for $700,000 and the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts for $500,000.
"We're doing great," said Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa, who chairs the Tampa Bay delegation. "There's actually money in the budget this year."
Tampa Bay Innovation Center (St. Petersburg Technology Incubator) — $400,000
Straz Center for the Performing Arts — $500,000
Capitol Theatre Renovation, Clearwater — $1 million
Murray Studio Theater, Ruth Eckerd Hall — $500,000
Fannye Ponder House, St. Petersburg — $78,750
Florida Holocaust Museum, St. Petersburg — $700,000
Clearwater Marine Aquarium — $1 million
Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance — $332,000
Metropolitan Ministries Traditional Family Housing Project, Pasco County — $1.3 million
Tampa Bay Regional Transportation Authority financial analysis of consolidation of PSTA and HART — $200,000
Pasco K-20 STEM Education Magnet Academy — $1.5 million
St. Petersburg College Orthotics and Prosthetics Program — $615,000
St. Petersburg College "A Day of Service" — $1 million
USF-St. Pete Family Study Center — $131,000