Gov. Rick Scott, Legislature agree to hold special session next week

Erica Roy
June 4, 2017

Critics say the proposed education funding ramps up spending on charter schools at the expense of public schools. Scott also asked for $85 million in business incentives for Enterprise Florida, but those were zeroed out in the budget.

The House speaker had been critical this year of economic development dollars being used as "corporate welfare" to pay big companies to bring jobs to Florida. "There needs to be legislation that allows us to market our state for tourism and grow jobs while maintaining these important principals", Scott said at the announcement".

The additional money that will be added to the budget next week will come from vetoes expected to be made by the governor, which could add up to as much as $300 million.

Scott wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Ken Detzner that he vetoed the citrus canker money due to ongoing litigation.

In announcing the deal, Scott and Corcoran finally ended their intense war of words over incentives.

"The whole focus will be how to get more jobs in the state", Scott said.

Scott toured the state criticizing the spending cuts. But on Friday Scott was complimentary.

Another $4.3 million, designated for the Thomas Varnadoe Forensic Center for Education and Research in Pasco County, was cut because the training center "should be under the management of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement", Scott wrote.

Scott, unhappy that his priorities were ignored in their 2017-18 budget, had dangled the possibility of vetoing the entire budget.

And it has been a fight, a political slug fest, between the governor and the speaker.

"Rick Scott and Richard Corcoran represent dirty, backroom politics at its worst, and this secret budget fails Florida's working families", Florida Democratic Party spokeswoman Johanna Cervone said in a statement.

Democrats who opposed the education bill quickly lambasted Scott and Republicans. Sen. Lawmakers will rework that section of the budget during special session.

The measures allocate $300 million of $400 million received by the state a year ago to Bay, Escambia, Franklin, Gulf, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Wakulla and Walton counties through the non-profit organization Triumph Gulf Coast.

State leaders are calling the Legislature back to Tallahassee for a special session.

A proposal for $750,000 for medical cannabis research at the Moffitt Cancer Center was snuffed as the money was tied to a failed effort (SB 406) by Legislators to carry out a voter-approved constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana. "The governor and the legislative leaders who cooked up these changes and called for a special session are not addressing the needs of the parents and students in this state", she said. Now, Gov. Scott has two weeks to decide whether to veto all or parts of the spending plan, and he's getting plenty of encouragement to be heavy handed. That could still happen over the next few days.

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