Governor Rick Scott signed a record budget of about $77 billion into law Monday.
Scott Signs Budget
This year’s budget is 3.5 percent higher than last year's and includes a boost in money for schools, child welfare and projects to battle water pollution. But, Scott says that’s not the only thing.
“It’s a budget that the most important thing is we cut $500 million in taxes. I looked at every line to say are we getting a return for the taxpayers. Is it good for the citizens,” said Scott, speaking to reporters Monday.
Scott vetoed about $69 million in individual line items from the state budget. But, some special projects escaped his veto pen this year. That includes $500,000 for the Eagle Fund of the Andrews Institute Foundation in Santa Rosa County, which Scott confirmed early Monday. Its goal is to help those injured in the line of duty return to the service.
“That stayed in the budget. It’s for veterans. It’s for people who want to stay in active duty,” added Scott.
That item was identified as a so-called budget turkey by Florida TaxWatch, after it was added very late in the budget conference process. Scott had vetoed money for the foundation last year.
Speed Limit Bill's Veto
In addition to this year’s budget, Governor Rick Scott signed 20 other bills into law Monday. And, he also kept this word by vetoing the one measure he’s publicly promised not to approve.
In a video message, AAA’s Senior Vice President Kevin Bakewell praised Scott for vetoing the speed limit bill.
“AAA is really pleased that the Governor has vetoed this legislation, which demonstrates that he feels safety is a top priority here in Florida,” said Bakewell.
The bipartisan bill would have allowed Florida Department of Transportation officials to increase the maximum and minimum speeds on certain Florida highways. And, bill sponsor, Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg), says that decision would have to be based on a study by traffic engineers.
“What we tried to is craft it in such a way that we think is consistent with AAA’s messaging, which is we think engineers should set speed limits. You know, I think pilots should fly planes, surgeons should do surgery, and engineers who are experts in speed limits should set speed limits on roads, not politicians,” said Brandes.
Last month, Scott promised to veto the measure, after hearing from law enforcement. Brandes says he was a bit surprised by their opposition, since he says they remained neutral throughout the legislative process. Brandes has since promised that he will bring the issue back up again next year in a different form.
For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.