Rick Scott, lawmakers cut budget deal, set special session

Posted June 04, 2017

Almost month after they went home following the conclusion of the 2017 Legislative session, members of both the Florida House and Senate will be returning to Tallahassee for a three day special session.

After months of bickering, two of Florida's top Republican leaders declared a truce Friday and announced the outlines of a final state budget deal that will allow both to declare victory.

The session is scheduled for June 7 through June 9.

Scott said that he will sign the $82.4 billion budget, although he is expected to veto individual spending items.

Under the terms of the deal negotiated privately over the last few days, Scott agreed to sign the new budget.

The agreement will fund Visit Florida at $76 million. Initially legislators had voted to slash money for the tourism marketing agency by two-thirds.

Along with rejecting Scotts request for business-incentive money, the budget would reduce the agencys funding for general operations from $23.5 million in the current year. Instead, it will be spent on workforce training as well as public works projects such as roads.

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Scott is also vetoing HB 5501 which decreased funding to VISIT FLORIDA by more than 60 percent.

The governor's large vetoes were money for public schools that he vetoed as part of a budget deal he worked out with legislators.

“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. That money will be used to fund Scott's priorities.

School superintendents, parent-teacher groups and the state's teacher union have been calling on Scott to veto the bill. House Speaker Richard Corcoran continued his campaign against what he terms corporate welfare-again leading the charge to refuse incentive funding and this year adding cuts to the operational side, too. Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, wants to defend his state university initiatives in the budget as well as a related policy bill (SB 374).

Democrats who opposed the education bill quickly lambasted Scott and Republicans. Sen.

"This bill will not help our students, our teachers, our school employees or our public schools". The Legislature failed to pass a bill during its 60-day regular session that would implement a constitutional amendment that legalized medical marijuana.

On the other hand, key appropriations survived, among them $13.5 million for dunes repairs to be split between St. Johns and Flagler, a vital part of county government's funding plan to recover from Hurricane Matthew. "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.