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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Scott's office rejects call to use state $ to keep fed programs afloat



In response to the prolonged federal shutdown, Gov. Rick Scott’s chief of staff on Thursday ordered that no state funds will be used to offset any federal programs that run out of cash as a result of the federal inaction.

In a draft letter, directed to the governor’s agencies, chief of staff Adam Hollingsworth said that absent a federal resolution to the shutdown, “it is important that we ensure that state funds are not committed as a temporary backfill to federal programs as a matter of course.”

Hollingsworth did not address what might happen to the programs that will not meet payroll next week -- from school districts to vocational services for the blind -- if the shutdown continues, according to state records. 

His two-page memo said that "no accounting measures (journal transfers) or budget actions (budget amendments) are taken to temporarily support unavailable federal funds through the use of state funds." Any attempt to do so would require approved of the governor's office, he said, in consultation with the Florida Legislature.

For his part, Scott would not answer reporters’ questions about what impact the shutdown is having on the state but directed blame for the gridlock in Washington to President Barack Obama.

“The buck always stops with the president,’’ Scott said in an interview with the Herald/Times. “We need more leadership and we need more negotiation in Washington DC. I expect our leaders to resolve their differences. They need to get this fixed."

The Scott's hard-line directive indicates that the governor has rejected the approach adopted by governors of other high volume tourists states. The federal government said Thursday it will allow states to use their own money to reopen some national parks during the shutdown, and governors in Utah, South Dakota, Arizona and Colorado have suggested they will do that.

[Last modified: Thursday, October 10, 2013 5:39pm]


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