Gov. Rick Scott signed the new state budget in the privacy of his Capitol office yesterday morning, the first time in memory that a Florida governor took that important annual step in secret. The $78.7 billion budget includes $207 more per-pupil in Florida public schools and a tax cut package worth about $430 million with the new fiscal year beginning July 1. Gov. Rick Scott issued $461.4 million in vetoes for next year’s state budget, believed to be a new record for budget vetoes. Unfortunately, the LSCU-backed financial literacy pilot program for Broward County fell victim to the governor’s veto pen. In his veto message, Gov. Scott said that school districts have the ability through record high state K-12 funding to implement this program if desired.
The Republican governor praised the budget shortly before he signed it. He noted that legislators had increased money for public schools, services for the disabled and set aside more than $400 million for tax cuts and said the targets of his budget vetoes were projects that either did not go through a proper process before getting added or did not have a statewide impact.
Legislators were unable to reach a deal on a budget during the regular session due to a divide over health care and health care spending. The standoff led to the June special session where the House eventually voted on – and killed – the Senate health care proposal. The defeat led House and Senate budget negotiators to finally start working together, where they worked largely behind closed doors to reach an agreement on the final budget approved last Friday.