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Calling PBS a “Special Interest,” Rick Scott Vetoes $4.8 Million in Public Broadcasting Aid

| May 30, 2011

florida gov. rick scott pbs npr public broadcasting slahing budget cuts veto

Look who's holding the mike now.

In an unexpected move last week, Gov. Rick Scott cut all state spending to public television and radio stations – an action that trimmed $4.8 million from the state’s $69 billion budget.

Scott defended the public broadcasting cuts and others included in $615 million of budget vetoes he unveiled Thursday during a budget signing ceremony at a retirement community where he called the vetoes a rejection of special interests, a label that made public broadcasting officials bristle.

“It is particularly perplexing to us that we are lumped in this category of special interest groups,” said Michael Boylan, the President and CEO of WJCT Public Broadcasting in Jacksonville. Boylan said he can’t remember a time when a governor has vetoed all state funding for public television and radio stations.

At least one Republican lawmaker criticized the decision.

“I believe public broadcasting does provide a service for individuals in the state of Florida,” said Sen. David Simmons, R-Maitland, who helped write the portion of the budget that funded public broadcasting. “Apparently, the governor has completely eliminated the funding for public broadcasting and he and I have a difference of opinion.”

The veto means that each one of Florida’s 13 public radio stations, including WMFE in Orlando (90.7 FM) and WJCT in Jacksonville (89.9 FM), both of which can be heard in Flagler County, is losing $61,715, and every one of the state’s public television stations is losing $307,447. Public broadcasting in Florida was already strapped, particularly the television stations. Orlando’s WMFE in April announced that it was selling its television station to concentrate exclusively on its radio programming.

Since 2007, direct support for WMFE-TV had decreased 68 percent from corporate donations and 40 percent from individuals. Its on-air pledge drives, whose programs are driven by PBS, were down 34 percent, and the station came up more than $300,000 short of its Fiscal Year 2010 fundraising goal. In contrast, the radio station recently completed its spring fundraising program and reached its $230,000 goal ahead of schedule. WMFE-FM 90.7’s audience, since the all-news format change in 2009, has experienced strong, consistent growth.

Nevertheless, the impact of the Scott veto on radio and television stations is “significant,” Boylan said. While stations can survive without state funds, it will have an impact on stations that use this money for 10 percent or more of their budgets.

Nationally, Republicans in Congress have pushed for eliminating federal subsidies for National Public Radio, which received $5 million last year. A bill to ban federal NPR funding passed the House of Representatives in February but has not passed the Senate.

Public broadcasting television and radio stations had been bracing for a 30 percent cut in state funds that the House and Senate had already agreed to in the state budget. The 30 percent cut came on top of a 60 percent drop in funding over the last five years, Boylan said.

“It wasn’t like we had been riding a huge wave, we have seen monumental cuts,” Boylan said.

“The consequences will be seen and felt,” Boylan said. “Many of our stations, for a number of years, have been cutting staff and cutting salaries.” These stations will rely more heavily on pledge drives, corporate donations and grant funding to shore up their budgets next fiscal year.

Public radio and television stations fall under the education portion of the budget because they provide educational opportunities for children, such as programming during the day that day care centers and educators use.

Though he declined to speak specifically to the veto of public broadcasting dollars, Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, said Thursday Scott’s vetoes were a product of a “sick” economy.

“We cannot spend money the way we have been in the past,” Hays said. “He had some very tough decisions to make and he just made the decisions he felt were the wise choices.”

–Lilly Rockwell, News Service of Florida, and FlaglerLive.

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39 Responses for “Calling PBS a “Special Interest,” Rick Scott Vetoes $4.8 Million in Public Broadcasting Aid”

  1. dlf says:

    No problem with this cut, we could use the money to help with the school issues we have, $4.8 million will go a long way towards solving some of these issues.

  2. kevin says:

    This is one move I commend Scott for taking. He is spot on with his comment they are a special interest group of the progressive left on many occassions.

  3. The Truth says:

    Let’s get to work..

  4. Pat says:

    GET RID OF RICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Thinkforyourself says:

    This guy is unbelievable! dlf seems like it would be that easy right – not so much and he knows it. The following is a statement from Speaker Cannon from the House of Representatives. “Tallahassee–Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon (R-Winter Park) today released the following statement regarding Florida Governor Rick Scott signing SB 2000, the 2011-2012 General Appropriations Act (GAA) into law.

    “The people of Florida sent us to Tallahassee to make hard choices during difficult times. We produced a responsible state budget that prioritizes the critical needs of our state, and I am proud that budget was signed into law.

    “However, I feel compelled to respond to the Governor’s suggestion that the sum of his vetoes is available for re-appropriation to K-12 education and that doing so would fund education at or near the same level as last year. The Governor’s vetoes freed up less than $100 million in general revenue. If the Legislature were in session and could re-appropriate these funds, they would increase the FEFP by only 0.6 %, which would move the FEFP reduction from 7.9% to 7.3%.

    “What is more surprising is the Governor’s sudden emphasis on K-12 education. The budget we sent him funds education at a higher level than the Governor recommended just a few months ago, when he proposed a 10% cut to the FEFP. The Governor communicated numerous priorities during session, and we did our best to accommodate him. It would have been helpful if the Governor had shared this new found emphasis with us before the budget was finalized.

    “It is the Governor’s constitutional authority to veto line items in the budget, and I respect his decisions. The vetoes of general revenue appropriations will further increase the more than $2 billion the Legislature set aside in our state’s reserves, which will help protect our bond rating and ensure that we have ample reserves in the event of an emergency.”

  6. Edward says:

    I think it’s ironic when people complain about this guy and there was a more qualified person applying for the job and the people chose a thief instead. Live by YOUR choice. …you chose him.

  7. Plantiful says:

    It is a sad day when Public Broadcasting (television for the people, paid for by the people and not corporate interests), is considered a “special interest.” I guess anything that is beneficial to “the people” is a special interest, today.

    So, to save 0.007% of the state budget, which is a crushing loss for PBS, he makes the cut, calling it a special interest.

    Some call PBS a leftist group, like Kevin does above, and perhaps they are: being Left I guess is what benefits the people, and being Rightist is what benefits the rich corporations. We all know that in these, the United Corporations of America, the little people don’t matter much.

    An example of “news” without PBS can be found in a fine example, from Right-wing Fox news in 1998:
    Here, Monsanto threatens Fox with withdrawing of ads and a possible lawsuit for a report on their growth hormone and its possible carcinogenic effects. With PBS accepting advertisements, they will now be more susceptible to this kind of “corporate news,” where everything is fine and dandy. Is this what everyone wants?

  8. rickg says:

    Well Edward, I do empathize with your premise but I did not vote for this guy who barely won the election (but acts like their is this powerful mandate out there) and I will find it very difficult the next three years living in a state where greed is god and the tea baggers continue to press their unimpressive agenda. Removing funding that helps support programs like Sesame Street and Frontline is just pure ideological idiocy.

  9. Gregg says:

    California Governor George Deukmejian (R) eliminated all state funding for California Public Broadcasting as one his first acts in 1983. Big mistake.

  10. realworld says:

    The gross ignorance here is amazing!!

  11. Jim J says:

    Scott got it right on this one.

  12. palmcoaster says:

    This medicare fraud benefitiary millionaire, cuts education and information funds. I can see his intentions at keeping the population ignorant and indeed under his foot! Lets demand recall in our constitution and do away with Scott.

  13. Lin says:

    Scott did the right thing. We don’t need another slanted media outlet PUBLICALLY FUNDED. Sesame street can find another home.

  14. NortonSmitty says:

    Teabaggers hate them because they are elitist, showing off by giving us the days news using words with more than two syllables. It makes their patriotic little heads hurt. Plus good riddance to that subversive Prairie Home Companion too!

  15. Lin says:

    I will miss Masterpiece Theater & the McLaughlin Group BUT

    From Wordsmyth – “Elitist” – believing in, supporting or promoting the superiority of a select or privileged group
    Webster’s dictionary says snobbery.

    Not the media I want my tax dollars to support — actually, I don’t want tax dollars to support any station.

  16. Anonymous says:

    “It is particularly perplexing to us that we are lumped in this category of special interest groups,” said Michael Boylan. – Yeah Mr. Boylan, I can see how you’d be perplexed. Tough to see what PBS has become when you’re involved in what PBS has become. Who’s interest does PBS serve? The public? No, not the public interest. Strike 1, please try again!

  17. thelanternbearer says:

    You cannot silence the truth, even with chains, bombs or starvation.
    It will seep into your morning coffee, embitter your afternoon tea and ultimately wrap around your lies like a boa constrictor on a pig.

    When you have succeeded in silencing the voice of truth, you have sealed your own doom as well, for who will cry out to protect your rights when they come for you? And they will, find a reason to come for you. It is dog eat dog out there, and survival of the richest, of which you are not.

    So you will become another of their drones until you are too old, disabled or ill to serve them anymore and by then euthenasia will be legal, for it will be the ONLY respite of the disenfranchised and you will be glad to go.

    Soylent Green is not a movie anymore, it is a horrifying picture of the world you are helping to create. A world of wolves and vultures that will devour it’s own young in it’s greed. We must have reached the crest of our evolution, for now we are slipping back to the dark ages with alarming speed. Just remember, you can’t stay in your walled in city forever…

  18. David says:

    It is easy to come on the internet as “Anonymous” and type away while really saying nothing at all. PBS provides programs that would otherwise not be seen because while they well produced and thought provoking, would not make enough money for a commercial station. The dollar rules our world and, to me, that is sad.

    Off to purchase my yacht in this state so I don’t have to pay the full sales tax…..

  19. kevin says:

    “being Left I guess is what benefits the people, ” …please show me programs of the last two years that prove the left has done anything to help “The people.”

    What we see is the obliteration of spending power, decreased salaries and hourly pay, continued falling home prices (although stimulus programs by “the left” were promised to fix it), increases in taxes and fees every chance there is which trickle down to the average consumer to pay crushing further discretionary income, increased wars and government lawlessness– for example the assasination of Bin Ladin, a man whith a wealth of knowledge for us to use, shot while unarmed, etc, etc, etc. Bin Laden’s murder was glorified by your “man of the people” as though he did it himself, the same man who condemned ever vote there was on increasing troops, and basically opposing every measure taken by our troops. Just a couple examples of the insanity of that comment.

    The left is all about big government, corporations, and special interests just like the swine on the otherside who do the same. Yeah, the left is all about “the people” just like Snookie represents sophistication.

  20. Tina Jeffe says:

    How sad that people think that Sesame Street, Ken Burns’ wonderful documentaries, and those very funny English comedies are leftist or elitist and are considered “special interest”. It will be a bad day when our information all comes from network TV.
    If you voted for Scott you deserve him. The rest of us will have to “endure” until he gets unelected.

  21. Sanda says:

    When is Florida going to wake up and recall this incompetent crook of a Governor.
    How do you people stomach this evil doer?

  22. Thinkforyourself says:

    I’m honestly not being sarcastic or argumentative – I’m asking a serious question. Why do you think PBS is leftist? I don’t understand. I watched it regularly when the kids were little and still enjoy most of the programming now. The educational programming is superior. I just don’t get it. Is this about NPR? NPR is a fraction of their programming. And even so I don’t see NPR as a leftist program. I’ve always thought NPR and or PBS did a good job of providing both sides of an issue. Please help me understand – I just don’t get it.

  23. NortonSmitty says:

    ThinkFY, there you go with that subversive shit you learned on public broadcasting. Asking good Republicans to actually watch or listen to these evil liberal outlets instead of just believing what they hear on Fox shows how out of touch you are with the Godfearing true American patriots who support our brave Governor and the other right-wing warriors.

    Your name alone tells us all we need to know about you Thinkforyourself. you liberal troublemaking Commie bastard. We’re watching you boy!

  24. mellvis says:

    I’d better not ever hear anyone who voted for this jerk complaining that you’re sorry you voted for him. Maybe if you’d turn off the liars on your television and start using your own critical thinking skills–rusty as they are, surely, from years of neglect–it would have occurred to you that this multi-millionaire Medicare-swindling felon was probably not the best person to put in charge of an entire state government.

    GOVERNMENT IS NOT A BUSINESS, it was NEVER INTENDED TO FUNCTION LIKE A BUSINESS, and it should NOT BE RUN LIKE A BUSINESS. Wake the ***k UP and stop listening to these vile propagandists who have spent several decades lying to you, trying to convince you otherwise.

  25. mellvis says:

    Har, NortonSmitty needs a snark tag on his last comment–son, you know, people with no critical thinking skills and no sense of humor are going to take you seriously, lol! :-)

  26. kevin says:

    There we go again—if one is criticizes anything that is on the left, then one must be a rabbid Fox viewer and supporter of Rick Scott, profiteer, in bed with corporations, an immoral thief who takes from children and the elderly, and racist. Yes, this canard has been circulated since the beginning of America. The obvious flawed thinking is ridiculous given the fact that examples can be found, sometimes in episodes of Sesame Street which I have seen myself, training chidren to have racial issues from a young age, not to mention the

    One can actually watch PBS and find many examples but as I mentioned many times previously, it would require one to be intelectually honest and unbiased. “Frontline” is a good example to use. Maybe the best example of the sick and twisted, over the top mentality is proven in “Bush’s War.” We watched this show, my wife and I, but after about 15 minutes had to change the channel because it was absolutely so far over-the-top even she could not tolerate some (not all of it was false that I’ll say) of the lies and misrepresentations a moment longer.

    Government, especially during these times, should not be funding networks to keep them operational. Let the private sector do it. And that means every network, not just them, as I think even Fox receives federal dollars. I cannot understand how or why but they do. An area of governement waste we all can agree on however the government doesn’t want the masses getting along.

    The last paragraph brings up a point that needs addressing because I see and have been part of such ugliness to others here at times, yet I am sure those same people on the left (or whatever) are decent people outside from their views, even though they become dickheads or assholes through their communications here.

  27. Jack J. says:

    It is sad when our conservative “friends” refer to PBS as a “leftist” viewpoint. It seems that if the information is a little to the left of extreme conservative it is referred to by these people as liberal when in fact it is maybe still conservative but not as conservative as those would like.
    I was worried that the governor’s term was 6 years and was happy to find out that we only have to put up with this man for another three years. I didn’t vote for him since I believe in helping keep our state beautiful and progressive. Starting with the Rapid Rail line which would have been a money maker for our state he has continued to make poor choices. He is not interested in creating jobs as we can see by all of his cuts.

  28. NortonSmitty says:

    Kevin, how can you possibly question the Great Scotts’ corporatist, thieving and profiteering credentials? n He has a clear record of these accomplishments, crowned by the largest fine ever levied against an American company for stealing from Medicare. $1.7 BILLION in fines, covering 14 seperate Felonies! But how would he possibly know this was going on at his company? He only founded Hospital Corporation of America by buying 2 hospitals in Texas and made it the biggest firm in it’s field. merging and gobbling up other hospitals and insurance companies in a brilliant, textbook example of expansion that will be studied at business schools for years. Fueled by the fortunate intake of Medicare, Medicaid, and other gov’t programs that just happened to fall into his lap!

    And when all of this fortunate largesse turned out to be the result of fraud and theft, guess who resigned at the start of the investigation and left his successor to face the possibility of jail time? Only having to plead the fifth amendment and keep silent seventy five times in his two hour deposition to beat the rap? None other than out intrepid, rich politically inexperienced Gov., swept into office on a Tsunami of Teabag stupidity. Oh, and $73 million of his own ill gotten gains spent on advertising.

    So Kevin, lets review our unfair criticisms about your new hero in Tallahassee: Profiteer, definitively. In bed with corporations, no doubt. Immoral theif who takes from the poor and needy? To the tune of an estimated $4 billion in fraud that would have helped the needy among us. I’d say that’s a check. Racist? Well, no proof but that’s the way the smart money would bet.

    And yet you proudly defend him. Why?

    PS. His fine alone would pay the federal funding for NPR for three years.


  29. Jmac4444 says:

    I often wondered how Hitler gained so much power. How he was able to take over an entire country with his ideas and prejudices. After watching these Republican governors across the states systematically taking over their states as if it were their own private playground. Restricting, reducing, renouncing the citizens right to vote, to educate, to collect bargain, to remove elected officials at will, to sell off state own utilities to further their own corporate interests, to shut down public radio/tv, to remove citizens from civic participation in their state’s new budget signing in favor of the few that support their form of government. Constant 24/7 broadcast from a media that spews lies and hires sweet smiling SS Officers to promote hate and dissatisfaction. This is how it happens. Up front and in your face.

  30. John Gib says:

    He made the largest cut to EDUCATION in our state’s history!! So spare me that this is about helping education!! He tried to cut over 3 BILLION but still managed to gut almost 2 BILLION.

    By the way, his budget asked that he DOUBLE his own governor’s budget and bloated staff! So he doesn’t practice what he preaches.

    You teabags think its great to cut things you all need, like education and public broadcasting, while in this state everything wealthy folks use is tax-exempt…university skyboxes, racehorses, etc. We have the fourth lowest corporate tax rate in the nation, and less than 2% of corporations in this state even bother to pay any taxes. You people need to wake the heck up.

  31. Liana G says:

    It’s funny how the ‘elitist’ left is viewed with suspicion and resentment for trying to educate the public by exposing them to a cultural and diverse world view.

    Can we really blame the governor for making all these educational cuts given our intellectual mindset. It’s glaringly obvious that spending all those resources educating us hasn’t worked. If there is one good thing to come out of this depression is that it has shown us how incredibly dumb and apathetic we truly are. Let’s see to it that the next generation is not raised this way. And we can’t afford to focus on just a select few either. That too hasn’t worked!

  32. palmcoaster says:

    This Rick Scott is a fox in the chicken coop thanks to the teabaggers. He mandates drug test for all public employees and welfare recipients, not caring about privacy issues at all, but opposes a state wide computer database of pain killers and Oxycoden drugs because as he says “is an invasion of privacy?” What a crook benefiting pharmaceuticals and his own medical/lab practice by wasting taxpayers monies on mandate drug testing that cost between $10 to $25 each, at least.
    “Law enforcement officials say Florida is the largest U.S. state without a database to keep track of painkillers, including oxycodone, and the undisputed epicenter of America’s illegal pill-mill trade and prescription dope dealers”. There you go our local Sheriffs, no support on your endeavors from #1 crook.

  33. palmcoaster says:

    PBS and NPR will survive with public support no matter the fascist and his cronies seating in Tallahassee now. They only want their destructive conservative agenda to be on the airwaves not the educated, unbiased and revealing news and documentaries we only hear and see in NPR and PBS.
    Recall this crook please.

  34. kevin says:

    This will be poorly written so hang onto the neg. comments please.

    Norton, I said this was one of only a couple issues I agreed with. I do agree to nix the rail project at least for now, (this hurts my brother’s company and his position which he was almost banking on that project), my wife and I agreed with the changes to pension contributions which make public employees responsible for some of their retirment like those of us in the private sector (she works for fire and rescue as what I see from the way others treat them as low-level, disrespected emergency dispatch operator when in fact her work is crucial to the everything from beginning to end when it comes to an emergency event and she is amazing in terms of her intelligence, communication, and multi-tasking skills, making a embarrasssing hourly wage and no raises in 4 years) so need I say more.

    I would hope you have honor to recognize from all of my past comments that I support the guy for only a few things because I considered him a criminal from the onset and thus never voted for him either. Yes, I admit to being biased. However no reasonable educated, unbiased, informed person can say that without reservation what he is doing is hurting our state. To the contrary, he is taking painful steps in fixing things before they really get bad like other states which are past the point of fixing.

    I usually do not refer to people I like as “Skeletor.”

  35. kevin says:


    I see you receive your information from the Huffington Post yet you attack and insult Tea partiers, fox and everyone in between? It all makes sense now, no wonder you comment as you do. I will never respond to anything you say ever again if this is the level of intellect you demonstrat and subscribe to. Sorry but the facts are what they are. That trash site is a vile, repugnant collection of hate mongering, anti-capitalist, anti-Israel bloggers, anti-teaparty, anti-family, anti-prolife, anti-sophisticated and anti-polite people that I would be embarrassed to claim any allegiance to reading.

    “This Rick Scott is a fox in the chicken coop thanks to the teabaggers. He mandates drug test for all public employees and welfare recipients, not caring about privacy issues at all, but opposes a state wide computer database of pain killers and Oxycoden drugs because as he says “is an invasion of privacy?” ” It is an invasion of privacy to the most critical information of all, one’s medical records!!!! WHere would it stop once one is on that slippery slope. The problem is what happens if and WHEN (because it will happen) when the information escapeds out due to theft or misuse of records? How do you fix the damage that can occur to one’s professional or personal life for those people lawfully using opiods, which come in many forms outside of oxycontin?

    Also what proof do you have of you claim, the same repugnant, sickening insults against decent citizens being part of the Tea-party, that they alone were responsible for his election? Maybe try getting your information from sources other than the Huffington Post and you may exeperience something that makes you feel better about others and helps you expand your intellect in ways widely respected from those either sides of the isle.

  36. kevin says:


    What is with your hate for those people who are either part of the tea party and/or agree with them? Please explain why you hate people like such yet are in communion with murders (those agreeing with the termination of the life of embryos and fetuses), allowance of illegal immigrants to gain citizenship and rewarded in essence, ahead of or with those who have taken the time to legally pursue citizenship, endless rights to unions that have negative impact to citizens and consumers alike, and other subjects they proudly represent and agree with? Oh not to forget the anti-semetic sentiments and supression of religious values as they also represent? The list is lengthy and ugly when look at in detail.

    I doubt that you will answer the questions I’ve remarked on. You folks never do yet always throw shit at others expecting an answer on every thing even those things which are false from the onset.

  37. FastEddie says:

    Dear Florida,

    Alex Sink would have been a perfectly good moderate governor. Instead, you voted for a criminal CEO. You get what you deserve.

    Unseat Scott and destroy the Tea Party.

  38. palmcoaster says:

    Here bit more of what keeps our federal and local government budgets in free fall ….the free rides to the wealthy…while cutting down on the rest of us.
    f …..

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