Schools, economic development key to budget deal

Posted June 03, 2017

Several other senators expressed anger that the deal seemed to be giving Scott and Corcoran their priorities on the backs of the Senate - senators were largely responsible for getting local projects into the budget this year, and those projects will now be cut to generate funding for K-12 education, Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida.

Scott's deal with House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land-O'Lakes, and Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart - announced the the three Friday morning in Miami - restores some of the money for business incentives and education that Corcoran insisted on cutting from Scott's 2017-18 budget request.

"It's truly a model for the rest of the nation wrestling with ending corporate welfare", Corcoran said.

The "Schools of Hope" plan is one of Corcoran's top priorities, but it has taken heavy criticism from school leaders around the state.

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But lawmakers eliminated the pot of cash known as the Quick Action Closing Fund from Enterprise Florida's offerings. The $85 million that will go to Enterprise Florida will be placed in the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund which will be created to promote the state's infrastructure and job training.

“I dont think we should be spending what NY is spending or California, and I dont think we should be offering $100 million (incentive deals) or whatever people do. The budget passed by the Legislature would give VISIT FLORIDA $25 million, which is $51 million less than what it received in this year's budget.

Scott has fifteen days to sign off, decide on line-item vetoes or reject the measure outright. There was speculation the governor might veto the entire budget.

Scott, however, said he is still reviewing the education bill.

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"The people of Florida should be proud today that you can have leaders with competing opinions and still compromise to meet common goals-government in Florida is working and the biggest winners are all Floridians", said Corcoran. It was a priority of Corcoran and includes benefits to charter schools. Scott argues the agency has been critical for job creation in the state. It also reduced Enterprise Florida's operating budget from $23.5 million to $16 million.

Governor Scott called for an increase in funding to $100 per student in grades K through 12.

Scott toured the state criticizing the spending cuts. The Legislature failed to pass a bill during its 60-day regular session that would implement a constitutional amendment that legalized medical marijuana.

If agreement can be reached, Corcoran and Negron plan to add medical marijuana to the special session later.

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The issue was expected to be addressed in a special session, but Scott did not include medical marijuana in his list of issues to address in next week's session. Without legislative action, more of the responsibility for the regulatory framework would fall on the state Department of Health.