Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Scott vetoes four budget-related bills, including hurricane catastrophe fund proposal

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott vetoed four budget-related measures Friday, including one designed to shore up the state hurricane catastrophe fund by selling tax credits to insurance companies.

The so-called Florida Insurance Tax Pre-Payment Program was pushed by banking industry lobbyists and was one of the last budgetary maneuvers by Senate Budget Chairman JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales.

But Scott opposed the last-minute maneuvering.

"The language was not fully vetted through the committee process and emerged late in the budget conference," Scott said in a veto message.

Alexander has said that the pre-payment program was suggested by banks, but that even if the bill became law, it would have required approval of Scott and the Cabinet.

With the CAT fund facing a $3 billion deficit and Florida headed into another hurricane season, Alexander said it made sense for banks and insurers to receive up to $1.5 billion in tax credits over a 10-year period by paying their state premium taxes ahead of time.

Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, one of three senators who voted against the bill (HB 5505), praised Scott's action.

"I believe this would have been another bailout for the private companies," Fasano said.

Scott also vetoed a bill that would have created "GatorCare," by allowing the University of Florida to implement its own health insurance program. The governor said he vetoed the bill (HB 5009) because its financial impact on the state employees' health care program had not been fully analyzed.

Scott vetoed a bill (HB 5011) creating a new 16-member state technology office under his control and eliminating current plans for a statewide email system. He said the bill "creates an inflexible and ineffective landscape" and would have limited innovation.

He also vetoed a bill making major changes to programs to prepare children for school. Scott said the bill (HB 5013) could jeopardize some federal funds for early learning programs and would have jeopardized funding that helps Florida residents find jobs.

Among the bills Scott signed Friday was HB 5005, a bill that reduces contributions to the retirement accounts of more than 100,000 state workers who are enrolled in 401(k)-like investment plans as an alternative to the state pension fund.

Most employees affected by the reduced contributions work in law enforcement or higher education. They will now have less money in their retirement nest eggs.

In signing the bill, Scott said: "This legislation takes a positive step toward addressing the overall costs of the Florida Retirement System, making the overall retirement benefits more affordable for Florida's taxpayers."

Times/Herald staff writers Tia Mitchell and Toluse Olorunnipa contributed to this report. Steve Bousquet can be reached at or (850) 224-7263.

Scott vetoes four budget-related bills, including hurricane catastrophe fund proposal 04/20/12 [Last modified: Friday, April 20, 2012 10:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas licensing board executive director settled hundreds of cases without getting his board's approval

    Local Government

    By Mark Puente

    Times Staff Writer

    Eleanor Morrison complained to the Pinellas licensing board in 2015 that her contractor installed crooked walls and windows and poured too much concrete for her carport.

    Eleanor Morrison poses at her home in Treasure Island, 5/26/17. Morrison filed a complaint with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and later learned that its former Executive Director, Rodney Fischer, dismissed the case in a private meeting with the contractor.
  2. Report: Kusher wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin


    Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Donald Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, U.S. …

    The name of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's White House senior adviser, has come up as part of the Russia investigation. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays pitchers rave about Twins pitching coach, ex-mentor Neil Allen

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — There have been a lot of coaches who have had a hand in helping Chris Archer get to the big leagues and to the front of the Rays rotation, and as he took the mound Friday night at Target Field, he had reason to nod appreciatively toward the home dugout.

    In their third year with pitching coach Neil Allen, the Twins have been one of the surprises of the American League.
  4. Swan sculpture deputies say was stolen by naked man found near Lakeland pond


    A $25,000 swan sculpture that Polk County sheriff's deputies say was stolen by a naked man last weekend was found near a pond in Lakeland on Thursday.

    A swan sculpture that was stolen in Lakeland on May 19 was recovered by the Polk Sheriff’s Office on Friday.
  5. Mayor Rick Kriseman says St. Petersburg mayoral election is about going forward, not back


    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman christened his campaign office Friday evening by telling his supporters that the mayoral election was about moving forward, not backward.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman says mayoral election is about inclusiveness Friday at campaign office rally