Gov. Rick Scott, agencies clash over spending priorities
TALLAHASSEE — Florida Gov. Rick Scott wants to cut taxes by $500 million next year, trim state agency budgets by $100 million and appeal to voters in an election year with another hike in school spending.
Even though tax receipts are rising and state economists project an $846 million surplus in 2014, the math won't work.
While the Republican governor is asking agencies under his control to cut waste and reduce spending, they are asking for nearly $1 billion more on everything from child abuse investigators to prison beds to state troopers, in some cases to patch budget cuts made in previous years.
That's not all.
Medicaid, the health care safety net for poor and disabled Floridians, is projected to cost at least $400 million more next year, and the Legislature has its own list of priorities — starting with $220 million in water projects to help the polluted Indian River Lagoon, St. Lucie River estuary and Caloosahatchee River.
"Suffice to say, it would not be possible to fund them all, provide meaningful tax relief and address the other important issues that are facing our state," said Rep. Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland, the House budget writer, as he directed lawmakers to "discern between needs and wants."
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