Gov. Rick Scott coronated himself as Florida's veto king today by announcing a record $615.3 million in additional cuts to the already-reduced state budget. Scott made the announcement in the Republican-heavy Central Florida old-folks homes known as the Villages, and repeated his weird flip-floppy claims he wants that money to go to education.
The vetoes are the biggest ever for a Florida governor. Charlie Crist previously held the record with $459 million vetoes in 2007.
Scott claimed that many special interests in Tallahassee would be upset by the vetoes, yet many of the vetoes were at the expense of community, charity, and higher-education programs.
Among the steepest vetos, and those of particular local interest:
- More than $1 million in cuts to proposed building projects for public universities.
- $8.6 million meant for building and improvements at Miami Dade College.
- $1.2 million in funding meant for the University of Miami cancer research center.
- $10,000 in funding for UM's Institute for Cuban American Studies.
- $200,000 in money going to Barry University.
- $500,000 going to the Dan Marino Foundation Vocational School.
- $12 million to the National Veterans' Homeless Support Group.
- $1.7 million to the Florida Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs.
- $5 million to Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach.
- $4.8 million to public television and radio.
- $430,298 for the DeAllapattah Community Center Hot Meals Program.
- $100,000 for the Miami-founded Liga Contra el Cancer/League Against Cancer.
- $50,000 to the Cuban American Bar Association Pro Bono Project.
- $100,000 to the We Help Community Development Corporation - Miami.
- $500,000 to Everglades Restoration - Study of Urban Sources of Phosphorus.
- $250,000 to Goodwill Industries of South Florida.
- $200,000 for the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund Outreach Program.
- $350,000 meant for the Florida Association of Volunteer Action/Caribbean & America for projects related to Haiti.
- $50,000 to the Greater Caribbean Chamber of Commerce.
- $1 million for the Miami Stormwater Master Plan Implementation.
You can browse the full cuts here.
Scott's claims that he wants the money to go to education is strange. The budget the legislature passed actually included far fewer cuts to education than Scott originally championed. It's also unlikely to happen now that the legislature is out of session.
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Like many things Scott does, the announcement came with some strange politics.
"One group, the Villages Democratic Club, was barred from the event, told by a staffer of Scott's that it was a 'private event,'" the Miami Herald reports. "Other staffers and Republican operatives scoured the crowd and had sheriff's deputies remove those who wore liberal-looking badges."