Crist vetoes $364 million in spending cuts
Gov. Charlie Crist signed the state's latest stopgap budget and issued $364 million in budget vetoes today, restoring a total of $90.9 million in general revenues funds. He commended the legislature for its hard work but eliminated more than a fourth of the $1.2 billion in spending cuts lawmakers made two weeks ago during its special budget-cutting session.
"I know that it is not fun for anybody to have to undertake reductions and I think they have done it in a responsible fashion,'' he said. "Reducing these programs and services would have negatively impacted our people and our state. I understand that challenging times will continue...What we have been able to do today certainly keeps us within balance -- more than $210 million in the black."
Crist said he "resurrected, if you will'' through budget vetoes the following items "to protect our investment":
* Education -- $28.9 million for teachers, autism educaiton and the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind
* Social services -- $22.8 million cut from the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, including assistance for medicaid waivers for 31,000 people, mental health and substance abuse treatment for adults and children, and food stamp assistance
* Public safety -- $16.2 million to avoid 118 layoffs of probation officers, substance abuse, guardian ad litem and review of restoration of civil rights cases
* Environment -- Fully fund the Florida Forever land conservation program
* Economic development -- $22 million in tourism, Visit Florida marketing, the quick action closing funds and other economic development grants.
* Military -- $600,000 for Florida National Guard and continued tuition assistance, body armor and other assistance.