State planes too costly, new report says
A report by the Legislature's independent watchdog, OPPAGA, suggests a way the state can save money: Downsize the three state aircraft that fly officials around the state, outsource it to a cheaper private company, or fly commercial more often. (The report was well under way before Delta Air Lines announced that it was largely eliminating daily nonstop service from Tallahassee to other major Florida cities.)
The report was ordered by the Legislature last spring in response to concerns raised by, among others, Sen. J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, who said it was hard to justify "flying a bunch of politicians around" at a time of cuts to programs like KidCare and aid to the disabled. During former Gov. Jeb Bush's tenure, the state agreed to pay $5.3-million for a Cessna Citation Bravo jet under a 15-year lease-purchase agreement.
Even if the OPPAGA recommendations were to be implemented, they would not affect the governor, Cabinet members, or legislative leaders, who are considered "Priority 1" users of the Cessna Citation Bravo jet and two King Air turboprops. The research unit was asked to look at only how to save money in ways affecting Priority 2 and 3 users, who are Supreme Court justices, state agency heads and other state employees.