Gov. Rick Scott's Budget Vetoes: The Finer Points

Categories: Great Scott!
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Gov. Rick Scott wants you to know he's the king of cutting budget fat -- with vetoes totaling a record $615 million out of the $69.1 billion budget.

He did away with what he calls the "special interests" and the "short-sighted, frivolous, wasteful spending" to look like the budgeting champ.

Then again, he also said he was "making the tough choices to turn our economy around."

If you're unfamiliar with political misrepresentation, "making the tough choices" often translates to "making cuts that don't affect the upper-class or big business."

That said, here are some of the finer points of Gov. Scott's budget vetoes -- although certainly not all:

  • Pretending to give a rip about public education

The budget signed by the governor includes a $1.3 billion cut to public schools. While Scott was line-item vetoing the items, he pleaded for the Legislature to direct the newfound cash back to the schools.

There were banners posted on the wall at the signing reading, "Less waste, more for education."

Then the total of newfound money for the state came in: $615 million. That would bring back half the funding for public schools, right?

Nope. The majority of the vetoes were budgeted as funds for bond and land sales that haven't been approved, meaning the state really saves only around $100 million in cash, according to House Speaker Dean Cannon, a Republican.

By Cannon's calculation, the governor created only a .06 percent (yes -- six-hundredths of 1 percent) increase in education spending.

Add in the fact that Scott's original budget proposal included far deeper cuts to public schools than the budget passed out of the Legislature and you have about all you need to know how phony it is for him to care about education.

  • The poor get poorer

People love budget cuts when they don't apply to them. Like the crotchety old Tea Party folks who say they want the government's paws out of their lives and to cut all the spending -- but don't you dare touch their Medicare.

Scott vetoed programs for homeless veterans, meals for poor seniors, a council for deafness, a children's hospital, whooping-cough vaccines for poor mothers or aid for the paralyzed, and funding to the Florida Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs.

Since the more-unfortunate Floridians are always in the minority, this was probably an easy move for Scott to make -- he didn't even mention those programs in his speech championing education.

As always seems to be the case with budget cuts making the poor poorer, the new budget lets the rich get richer -- Scott approved the $37 million corporate income tax cut, even though he had called for the tax to be eliminated.

  •  The "jobs" budget kills both current and future jobs

In Scott's head, giving breaks to big corporations and firing thousands in state government qualifies the budget as a "jobs budget."

It eliminates 4,500 jobs in state government, and in his vetoes, he found just about every way he could to prevent future jobs in the public sector.

Millions and millions of those dollars cut out of the budget went toward public construction projects, many at public universities.

It's nice to know Florida's 11 universities now qualify as "special interests."

Click here to see the entire list of Gov. Scott's budget vetoes.


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