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Florida leaders announce special session to hash out budget compromise

04 June 2017

Florida received its first payment almost a year ago, but the fate of the money remained in limbo. Lawmakers had criticized both Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida for a lack of transparency and for profligate spending on dubious items. The $24 increase would have meant that per-student funding adjusted for inflation would have decreased.

“I dont think we should be spending what NY is spending or California, and I dont think we should be offering $100 million (incentive deals) or whatever people do.

Scott said he is still reviewing part of the budget that would provide $140 million to high performing charter school networks willing to expand in failing school districts.

A budget veto could prompt calls for an override, which would require two-thirds votes by the House and Senate.

But the compromise between Scott and legislative leaders, especially with House Speaker Richard Cocoran, had its price: the governor had to come up with enough money to pay for the restored funding.

Corcoran, who did not immediately return a request for comment, wants to avoid a veto of a sweeping education bill (HB 7069) that he has made a priority.

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In vetoing $410 million in projects, Scott approached the veto totals of 2014, when $461.4 was struck from the spending plan.

The cuts include such things as $300,000 for the Historic Gulfview Hotel restoration in Fort Walton Beach; $500,000 for the Miami Downtown Development Authority's Baywalk; $89,435 for repairs to the Port Boca Lighthouse; $3 million for infrastructure improvements at Daytona Beach International Airport; and $4 million for the St. Leo University, Florida Hospital Wellness Center.

Corcoran also sought to slash funding for Enterprise Florida's operating budget from $23.5 million to $16 million and eliminate 21 corporate incentive programs. "It is my goal that a total of $215 million more is allocated to the FEFP which is a $100 per student increase over current year funding during the upcoming legislative session", Scott said in a news release. That money will be used to fund Scott's priorities. The Legislature failed to pass a bill during its 60-day regular session that would implement a constitutional amendment that legalized medical marijuana.

Appearing with Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron at press conference Friday in Miami, Scott called lawmakers into special session next week to finalize the deal. Otherwise, regulation would be left up to the Florida Department of Health.

State college advocates are also asking Scott to veto their $1.2 billion portion of the budget, with the hope it would force lawmakers to restore a $30 million cut in remedial-education funding for the 28-school system.

Florida leaders announce special session to hash out budget compromise