Jeb Bush is calling Florida’s new record-setting budget a fiscally sound plan that puts more money into the state’s priorities than ever before. He signed the $64.7 billion spending plan Thursday morning at the Capitol.
The governor also chopped $180 million worth of projects out of the budget that communities across the state say they really needed. A complete list of those cuts are available at: www.myflorida.com/myflorida/government/laws/2005legislation/pdfs/2005_veto_list.pdf.
Projects in this area that had their state funding vetoed include: $3.5 million to replace the performing arts building at Chipola College in Marianna. A Panama City Administrative Service Center for $2,525,000 was vetoed, The Bay High School Magnet programs lost $100,000, another $100,000 for an Emergency Power Supply in Graceville got the budget ax and $200,000 for the pool at the Boys and Girls Club in Panama City was also cut.
It took just a few seconds for Jeb Bush to sign the state’s nearly $65 billion budget into law. He credited Florida’s booming economy for the infusion of cash.
“We have more money to spend this year because business is thriving. This state is bustin’ loose.”
But all that extra money won’t be going to hundreds of projects often called “Budget Turkeys” because they didn’t go through the proper channels.
The governor chopped $180 million in road projects, after-school programs for disadvantaged kids, nursing programs, and community health services to name a few.
Project Child director Sally Butzin took the news hard. Her innovative program helps struggling students around the state do well on their FCAT and pass the third grade. The governor slashed a half-million dollar expansion effort that would have reached $2,500 more kids.
“We are certainly very, very disappointed and we’re disappointed for the kids that will not be able to be served this year but we’re optimistic that next year will be better.”
Incoming House Democratic Leader Dan Gelber blasted the governor for vetoing community needs while passing about the same dollar amount in tax breaks for well-off Floridians.
“Almost all the money he cut was to our most vulnerable citizens and in the same stroke, almost in the same breath, he is saying we need to really worry about our millionaires.”
The money saved by the vetoes will go into the state’s rainy day fund.
Even though some projects were cut locally, some remain intact like $5.5 million for a new downtown library and $3.5 million for a new Bay County Emergency Operations Center was also left funded and intact in the new budget
The state budget for the coming fiscal year that begins July first includes nearly a nine percent boost in education funding. The budget also includes sales tax holidays on hurricane supplies and back-to-school items.
You can access the governor’s full veto list by clicking on: www.myflorida.com/myflorida/government/laws/2005legislation/pdfs/2005_veto_list.pdf.