Budget Vetoes Sought

When the ceremonial handkerchief fell ending the legislative session, lawmakers took home the biggest budget in state history, 74.5 billion dollars.

"We actually think the legislature showed some restraint with member projects," said Taxwatch Budget Analyst Kurt Werner.

For more than 20 years, Florida Taxwatch has been combing through the hundreds of pages of detail and recommending which budget items are unusual, didn’t go through a process, or are just plain wasteful.

"A 107 individual appropriations worth a 106 million dollars in tax payer money," said Taxwatch VP for Research Rob Weisert.

On the list is 9 million for Embry Riddle, a private aeronautical university in Daytona Beach, 14 million for a building at Gulf Coast State college in Panama City that ranked low on a priority list, and four million for a film project in Clearwater.

"This is a hundred million dollars that could have gone to things like schools or healthcare," said Weissert.

The 100 million plus could have been used to hire 3,000 more teachers added three more days of back to school sales tax holidays. Almost completely fund the Governor's manufacturing tax cut or the money could have been used to add thousands of kids to the early learning program.

Governor Rick Scott has the final say.

When lawmakers were still in session, Scott used the threat of vetoing budget items as leverage to get his priorities.

"And we know that that horse trading has a role," said Werner.

But that could mean that Scott will have to let some money be spent that would've otherwise been vetoed.

Legislative leaders strongly disagree with the Taxwatch turkey list because they know their district's needs the best.