Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Steve Bousquet: Rick Scott's latest veto is simply wild

Gov. Rick Scott's legacy is now secure.

He'll forever be known as the governor who vetoed a bill involving a specialty license tag for wildflowers.

Florida's governor showed his true colors Friday when he vetoed what might have been the least controversial bill of the entire 2013 legislative session.

The man's mind is clearly on getting re-elected.

But his logic was — there's only one word for it — wild.

The wildflower bill passed both houses of the Legislature by unanimous votes. Most lawmakers are, like Scott, Republicans who oppose higher taxes.

And everybody knows Scott opposes raising the cost of government on Florida residents. But to use the wildflower license plate as an example is taking things to ridiculous extremes.

Scott's stated reason for his veto is that the bill, HB 265, would have increased the annual fee for the wildflower license plate from $15 to $25, which is true.

But the fee is voluntary.

No one pays it unless they want the tag on their car.

No tag, no fee.

"Although buying a specialty license tag is voluntary, Floridians wishing to demonstrate their support for our state's natural beauty would be subjected to the cost increases sought by this bill," Scott said in a brief veto message.

Okay. But If Scott is so concerned about license tag fees, why did he approve creating three new ones earlier this year?

They are for the American Legion, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Lauren's Kids, which teaches kids about the risk of sexual assault. Each of the tags will cost motorists who buy them $25 more.

A fee increase?

Absolutely.

But it's voluntary. No one has to pay it unless they want to.

• • •

The Florida Wildflower Foundation wanted the extra money to expand research and education programs and fund a second student endowment in wildflower studies at the University of Florida, executive director Lisa Roberts said.

"Everybody is so surprised," Roberts said.

Most other Florida specialty tags (for universities, pro sports teams, manatees and panthers, to name a few) already cost $25 more. The bill would have brought the cost of the wildflower tag in line with what others cost.

Since the wildflower tag debuted in 2006, nearly 92,000 motorists have bought one, including about 12,000 in the Tampa Bay area.

The House passed the bill late one night near the end of a marathon session when everybody was looking for a little levity.

The bill seemed so innocuous that legislators laughed and poked fun at its sponsor, Rep. John Wood, a Winter Haven Republican.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, asked Wood to talk about "cutting-edge wildflower research."

"Let's talk about the state wildflower," Wood told House members, recalling his mother's past work as a leader of Florida garden clubs.

Another supporter, Rep. Tom Goodson, said it was the first time the Sierra Club supported one of his bills.

Scott didn't see the humor in it all.

Contact Steve Bousquet at bousquet@tampabay.com or (850) 224-7263.

Steve Bousquet: Rick Scott's latest veto is simply wild

06/17/13 [Last modified: Monday, June 17, 2013 9:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Airbnb on track to shatter tax revenues brought in last year

    Business

    Airbnb has collected more than $18 million in taxes for Florida state and local governments so far this year, putting it on a fast-track to shatter its 2016 tax collection of $20 million.

    Airbnb has collected more than $18 million in taxes for Florida state and local governments so far this year, putting it on a fast-track to shatter its 2016 tax collection of $20 million.
[Bloomberg file photo]

  2. PSTA foresees no service cuts as it rolls out proposed 2018 budget

    Transportation

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority will unveil the first draft of its 2018 budget at Wednesday morning's meeting of the governing board.

    A Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority bus leaves the terminal at  3180 Central Ave. in St Petersburg in 2014. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]
  3. What you need to know for Wednesday, June 28

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    St. Petersburg will finally break ground today on its long-awaited downtown Pier. [City of  St. Petersburg]
  4. USF's 'Black Pulp!' and 'Woke!' exhibits reframe African-American representation

    Visual Arts

    The concept of being "woke" is inextricably woven into the zeitgeist. To be truly woke, you have to be aware of not only current social injustices, but also the historical fight against prejudice.

    Renee Cox’s Chillin with Liberty (1998) is part of the “Black Pulp!” exhibition at the University of South Florida’s Contemporary Art Museum.
  5. Carlton: Downtown's new "Water Street" district? As Tampa as devil crab

    Economic Development

    Tampa, a place busy reinventing itself, is not exactly known for its streets. At least not in a good way.

    CAPTION: (10/30/06 - TAMPA): (1)  St. Petersburg Times columnist Sue Carlton. New sig photo. KEN HELLE | Times SUMMARY: New sig photo for columnist Sue Carlton.  1 of 1 CAPTION: (10/30/06 - TAMPA): (1)  St. Petersburg Times columnist Sue Carlton. New sig photo. KEN HELLE | Times SUMMARY: New sig photo for columnist Sue Carlton.  1 of 1 CAPTION: (10/30/06 - TAMPA): (1)  St. Petersburg Times columnist Sue Carlton. New sig photo. KEN HELLE | Times SUMMARY: New sig photo for columnist Sue Carlton.  1 of 1 CAPTION: (10/30/06 - TAMPA): (1)  St. Petersburg Times columnist Sue Carlton. New sig photo. KEN HELLE | Times SUMMARY: New sig photo for columnist Sue Carlton.