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TaxWatch Tells Rick Scott to Cut 143 'Turkeys' from Florida Budget

The annual Florida TaxWatch list of budget "turkeys" seeks line-item vetoes from the governor for 143 projects, worth $150.6 million, ranging from the Brevard Community College Public Safety Institute to a land purchase next to the governors mansion and a Bay of Pigs Museum in Miami.

The budget watchdog group, which has been suggesting budget cuts to legislative earmarks since 1983, was particularly opposed to 24 water projects -- such as St. Johns River restoration and city sewer work in Umatilla -- because it says there wasnt a proper legislative review.

Review the list here.

Speaking at a news conference Friday at the Florida Press Center in Tallahassee, Dominic Calabro, president and CEO of TaxWatch, said he expects Gov. Rick Scott to be receptive to many of the group's veto suggestions.

We believe this helps the governor, Calabro said. We expect him to exercise a lot of fiscal restraint for the taxpayers hard-earned money.

A year ago, among Scott's $615 million slashed from the budget was $181 million for programs TaxWatch had identified as turkeys.

In addition to the 143 projects listed as turkeys in the $70 billion budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, an additional 16 projects, worth$21.3 million, are not listed as turkeys but deemed questionable.

While Calabro said the organization doesnt generally support the addition of new state universities, the split of USF-Polytechnic in Lakeland into an independent campus was not included in the list because it went through the Legislatures proper budget review. Also, the money for the new campus would have been allocated to the campus regardless of the planned split.

Calabro noted that Sen. J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, who backed the campus split, contacted TaxWatch to discuss the project.

The list highlights projects that the Tallahassee-based outfit says did not go through a proper legislative review process, with many of the projects added during the budget conferencing process between the two chambers.

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