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The 2017 Budget: What Made the Cut and What Didn’t

May 8th, 2017 by Jake Stofan
The state legislature is expected to their 2017 annual budget after an overtime special session.
The $82.4 billion dollar spending plan is ruffling the feathers of a number of people… including Governor Rick Scott.
The budget plan includes a modest increase in education funding, bonuses for corrections employees and cuts to environmental spending.
House Speaker Richard Corcoran has hailed the 2017 budget as an achievement in education funding.
“I will say that it is the boldest most transformational, it is the most huge education bill ever passed,” said Corcoran.
Many in the education field, like Jeff Wright with the Florida Education Association, point out even with an overall increase in funding, the spending per student is reduced by $27 and a significant amount of money is directed towards charter schools instead of public schools.
Specifically the money for Schools of Hope… a personal pet project of Corcoran’s.
“The impact of the other policy, the result to the school district is less money and it’s the game they like to play all the time,” said Wright.
The budget doesn’t include funding for the Florida Forever Land Conservation program, a detail that has environmental advocates upset.
The budget does include a raise for government employees, however the top employee Governor Rick Scott din’t get his way on just about anything he had asked for.
Scott is shorted on funding for Visit Florida, Enterprise Florida and repairing the dike around Lake Okeechobee.
Appropriations Chair Jack Latvala urged the Senate to vote yes despite differences with governor.
“When the light of day is more fully shown on it the Governor has the right and the responsibility to look at that bill and make individual decisions about what he allows to become law,” said Senator Latvala.
Scott has indicated he may veto the budget.
Lawmakers have been told to be on notice as a veto would bring them back to the Capitol for a special session.

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