Gov. Rick Scott Slashes $142.7 Million from Budget
Gov. Rick Scott signed a budget that increases education spending by $1 billion from last year, while slashing $142.7 million from individual legislators' projects such as the Science and Discovery Center of Northwest Florida, the Frank Lloyd Wright House at Florida Southern College and the Bay of Pigs Museum in Miami.
The hallmark of the $70 billion budget for Scott was education, using the A-rated Cunningham Creek Elementary School in St. Johns County at noon Tuesday as the backdrop for signing the 2012-2013 budget.
“Over the last year I have traveled the state to hear from Floridians what issues they care about most. That’s why this budget should be known as an education budget,” Scott stated in a release issued after the budget was signed.
“The two issues that Floridians care most about are jobs and education, and the two go hand in hand since a good education is critical to getting a good job.” Scott had called for legislators to significantly increase the Pre-K-12 funding when he proposed a budget in December.
“Education is the key to Florida’s long-term prosperity, so we had to find a way to pass the critical increase in education funding in the budget,” Scott stated in Tuesday’s release.
“The increase in education funding, paired with my 2012 Job Creation and Economic Growth Agenda and auto insurance fraud reform, are all steps on the road to making Florida the greatest state in the nation to live, work and play.”
House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, said Scott “thoughtfully reviewed” the legislative budget.
“The state budget signed into law today confronts an over $1 billion shortfall without raising taxes, provides for more than $2 billion in reserves to preserve our bond rating and increases education funding by more than $1 billion,” Cannon stated in a release.
“By holding the line on taxes in the face of a significant shortfall and taking the steps needed to preserve our bond rating, we are reaffirming our shared commitment to fostering a stable and reliable business climate ripe for private-sector job creation. The $1 billion increase in education funding takes this commitment one step further by ensuring that Florida remains home to a work force equipped with the education and skills needed to compete and lead in a global economy."
The Florida Democratic Party wasted little time in criticizing the budget as “an assault on the middle class.”
“What the governor touts as an investment in education fails to restore the massive cuts made by Scott and the GOP-led Legislature last session,” Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith stated in a release issued as the signing ceremony was still under way.
“This budget is nothing more than the same shortsighted priorities of Florida Republicans that have put the special interests ahead of investing in education -- while schools are left crumbling around our children. That is no way to lead.
“More importantly, this budget squeezes funding from critical services, putting the burden of balancing the budget squarely on the backs of Florida’s families. This budget is an assault on the middle class and fails Florida’s families in every way by moving our state in the wrong direction.”