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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Scott will veto $256 million in new state budget



Gov. Rick Scott made a pre-emptive strike against the Florida Legislature Tuesday by announcing that he will veto $256.1 million in line-item spending when the new state budget reaches his desk.

The amount is slightly more than half of the $461.4 million Scott vetoed last year. It is highly unusual for a governor to release a veto list before he has the budget in hand, but Scott is well aware that legislators have been discussing the possibility of calling a special session to override his vetoes. By acting first, and on Super Tuesday when most Floridians are paying much closer attention to the presidential primary, Scott puts to rest fears of massive line-item vetoes and likely dampens any remaining talk of budget overrides.

Scott released a six-page list of doomed projects and legislative spending decisions, the single biggest of which was a $55 million sweep from unspent money in an economic development trust fund. On his I-will-veto list are dozens of water projects in virtually every area of the state, and the proposed elimination of $11 million for a center in performing arts education at Pasco-Hernando State College.

Scott cannot officially make the vetoes official until the Legislature sends him the new $82.3 billion budget. He released a statement that said in part: "I will be signing this budget into law as soon as the Florida Legislature delivers it to me and withholding approval for approximately $256.1 million in projects that do not provide a significant return on taxpayer investment. I look forward to another great year in the Sunshine State as we continue our mission to make Florida first in the world for jobs, education and safe communities."

The governor's announcement on his budget decisions is here, and the list of to-be-vetoed projects is here.


[Last modified: Tuesday, March 15, 2016 2:35pm]


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