Florida’s budget is set for this year. Governor Rick Scott signed the state budget Thursday, totaling $82 billion.
Scott sounded optimistic before reviewing the budget, despite a lack of support for his projects.
“You know, every year, everybody comes here with their ideas of how we can improve the state. And everybody comes here with their ideas and we debate about the best way of doin’ it. What we can be proud of in this session is we’ve moved this state forward. We can say this was a very good session,” Scott says.
He raised eyebrows when he released his vetoes before receiving the budget. But the $256 million list was shorter than expected. Before Scott released his vetoes, he praised himself for saving Florida from tax peril.
“What’s important is we’re giving money back," Scott says. "If you go think about where this state was before I got elected, we were raising taxes year after year. Now we’re debating which taxes to cut and how much to cut. That’s a much better position to be in.”
But House Democratic Leader Mark Pafford of West Palm Beach says his legacy reads more like failure. And in terms of the vetoes, he thinks Scott had to cut certain people’s projects to make it appear as if it was across the board.
“If he had singled them out and given them everything they wanted, perhaps there’d be more problems within the Republican party, largely because those in leadership were getting breaks from the governor. And they could, perhaps, from that point, presume there had been some sort of deal,” Pafford says.
Scott also got most of his projects handed back to him. The legislature slashed his $1 billion tax cuts to a mere $400 million. And they denied him $250 million in business incentives. Republicans and Democrats united on the final budget. Republican Representative John Tobia of Melbourne Beach was the only no vote.