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Scott Proposes $74.2 Million Budget, Culminating Weeks of Tax-Cutting and Spending Pitches

| January 29, 2014

The blueprint released Wednesday included at least two notable items: an increase in the exemption from the corporate income tax that would cost the state $21.6 million, and up to $70 million for land conservation efforts.

Scott Pitches Cut of Sales Tax on Rental Properties and $80 Million for Cancer Research

| January 28, 2014

Scott will ask lawmakers to support a $100 million reduction in the commercial lease tax that now brings in about $1.4 billion a year, and $60 million to existing cancer centers as they seek National Cancer Institute designation.

Scott Proposes Increasing Education Funding By $542 Million, Mostly For Public Schools

| January 27, 2014

The bulk of the new spending — $542 million — would go to public schools. While that is far lower than the approximately $1 billion increases Scott sought in each of the last two years, his office touted the fact that it would bring spending on education to the highest level in state history in terms of raw dollars, though unadjusted for inflation.

Extra State Revenue Could Top $1 Billion As Legislature Approaches Spring Session

| December 8, 2013

State economic forecasters added $324.3 million to expected tax revenues during the current budget year, which ends June 30, and the fiscal year that begins the next day. Because lawmakers have already passed a budget covering this year, all of the new money should be available for the spending plan that starts in July.

Projection Shows $846 Million Surplus Ahead of Florida’s 2014 Budget

| September 6, 2013

The estimated $845.7 million surplus could be used during the 2014-15 fiscal year to increase spending or cut taxes — or it could be rolled into the budget for the following year. The projection comes with all sorts of caveats, as the 2014-15 year will not start until July 1.

Tax Subsidy May Trigger Free for All as Florida Cities Grab for Spring Training Teams

| May 25, 2013

New rules for spring training funding offer up to $666,660 a year in sales tax revenue for stadium upgrades or construction if a community seeks to retain or entice a single team to move. The funding can jump to $1.33 million if a community can cobble together a two-team package.

Florida’s Surplus Adds Dollars to Services From Mental Health to Rape Crisis Centers

| May 23, 2013

People with disabilities, domestic and sexual violence programs, mental health and substance abuse programs, juvenile justice and children’s services all got bigger budgets for the first time since the recession began.

Two Flagler Projects Among $368 Million in Vetoes as Scott Approves $74.1 Billion Budget

| May 20, 2013

Having powerful House Speaker Will Weatherford on its board did not spare Heather Beaven’s Flagler Beach-based Florida Endowment Foundation from a veto eliminating its $2 million appropriation. Flagler also lost $150,000 for a retraining program.

Flagler Beach’s Endowment Foundation’s $2 Million on List of Annual Legislative “Turkeys”

| May 18, 2013

The Flagler Beach -based Florida Endowent Foundation for Florida’s Graduates’ $2 million appropriation, representing all its budget, is among the 107 items of Florida Tax Watch’s annual “turkey” list in the Legislature’s $74.5 billion budget.

Nine Surprises You May Not Know Are in Florida’s New Budget

| May 8, 2013

The Florida Legislature’s $74 billion budget contains, as always, innumerable surprises in the fine print, from $240,000 to be spent on orange juice served visitors at highway stops to $500,000 to advertise stay-in-state vacations to Floridians.

As Gov. Scott Looks to Re-Election, Legislative Wins Have Yet to Bump Approval

| May 7, 2013

Gov. Rick Scott got the teacher raise he sought, and a sales-tax exemption for manufacturing equipment in the last legislative session, but his poll numbers haven’t showed improvement as he heads into the 2014 campaign for a second term.

Online Sales Tax On Its Way, But Phone, Cable and Web Service Taxes Would Be Cut

| April 12, 2013

The measure would offset the increased revenue brought in by the measure by lowering other taxes, including the communications services tax charged on phone service, cable, and satellite TV and internet connections.

Florida Legislators Have $3.5 Billion More To Play With This Year Than Last

| March 17, 2013

Forecasters added $153 million in tax revenues in the budget year that ends June 30, and $106.5 million for the year that begins July 1. Even taking into account likely policy decisions and budget increases, the state could have a surplus of $1.1 billion.

Gov. Scott, a Big-Spending Liberal? Not So Fast.

| February 12, 2013

As everyone anticipated, the attack on Gov. Rick Scott by liberals has begun. No surprise there, as he is the next conservative in the cross-hairs. But at times it borders on the absurd, argues Lloyd Brown.

Florida’s Gang of 10: How You Got Robbed of Representation by Lawmakers’ Rubber Stamp

| September 20, 2012

Just 10 of Florida’s 160 legislators voted recently on a $58-million budget amendment that carries large policy implications for citizens across the state. Few citizens were representedby this or any other decisions passed by the Legislative Budget Commission.

Gator Shame: Why I’m Relieved My Daughter Won’t Be Attending the University of Florida

| May 20, 2012

Athletics aside, Florida doesn’t take its public universities and public schools seriously, making it difficult for top students to stay here–or for the state to depend on more than tourist ghettoes, sunbathing spreads and Medicare colonies.

Counties Challenge Juvenile Detention Costs

| April 19, 2012

The challenge to Department of Juvenile Justice rules is part of a string of related legal disputes involving at least 10 counties over how much of the detention tab counties should pay. The case may have repercussions across the state.

Scott, in St. Johns, Signs $70 Billion Budget, Vetoing Only One-Fifth Last Year’s Amount

| April 17, 2012

The vetoes were a sharp decrease from the $615 million in spending Scott killed last year, though he struck dozens of transportation and cultural programs and asked state universities to limit tuition increases to 5 percent.

His Veto Pen Spilling No Hints, Gov. Rick Scott Readies to Sign Budget in St. Johns Tuesday

| April 16, 2012

Only one thing is clear about what will happen Tuesday when Gov. Rick Scott signs the $70 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1: An increase in state funding for education will stand.

Florida Legislators Cut Higher Ed $300 Million Even as They Create a 12th University

| March 6, 2012

House and Senate lawmakers agreed to create Florida Polytechnic University, a pet project of Sen. J.D. Alexander’s, and slash university spending by $300 million, paving the way for an on-time ending to the legislative session.

Public Pressure Works as State Funds Return to Flagler’s Disabled Adults Services

| March 2, 2012

Flagler County would have lost $600,000 and 18 jobs, and disability and job-learning skills to 248 adults in the affected programs, had a Senate proposal to end funding prevailed. A public-awareness campaign led by school board member Colleen Conklin helped reverse the cuts.

Flagler School District Mobilizing Against 18 Job Cuts and Lost Services to Disabled Adults

| February 19, 2012

Flagler County is in danger of losing several programs that train and help the disabled find self-sustaining jobs as the Florida Senate ends funding for those programs. The cuts would affect 248 adult in the county, including 36 students in the transition program for 18 to 22 year olds.

Florida House Approves $69.2 Billion Budget Heavy on Cuts on 79-38, Party-Line Vote

| February 9, 2012

The $69.2 billion budget plows an addition $1 billion to education, but slashes other services to plug a nearly $2 billion shortfall, such as lowering the age at which the state ends a subsidy for former foster children from 23 to 21.

House Releases $69.2 Billion Budget, Including 9.5% Increase in Pre-K-12 Funding

| January 27, 2012

House budget builders on Friday released their $69.2 billion spending blueprint that includes more than $1 billion in additional funding for K-12 education and more than $2.5 billion in reserves.

Florida’s Poor and Elderly Again Brace For Cuts As Legislature Prepares for Tuesday Kickoff

| January 6, 2012

Gov. Rick Scott is proposing further deep cuts in Medicaid payments to hospitals, while lawmakers have filed bills that would help shield emergency-room doctors and workers from costly malpractice lawsuits.

Educators Deride Scott’s “Smiley Face” Budget, Hospitals Call It “Tax on the Sick”

| December 8, 2011

Despite Scott’s proposed boost, the state would still spend about $210 million less on education under Scott’s plan than it did five years ago, with overall education funding down about $1.6 billion. Hospital advocates call proposed cuts to Medicaid a “tax on the sick.”

Gov. Scott Proposes Corporate Tax Cuts Even As Florida Faces a Deficit of Up to $2 Billion

| October 13, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott wants to double the corporate income tax exemption to $50,000 and eliminate the tangible tax for half of the state’s 300,000 businesses that now pay it. It’s part of his plan to eliminate all corporate taxes ins even years.

Universities Defend Against Rick Scott’s Primitive War on Anthropologists

| October 12, 2011

Not wanting tax dollars spent educating anthropologists, Rick Scott appeared unaware that the science is among the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and math) he himself is emphasizing to add jobs in Florida.

Florida Lawmakers Gloomily Expect $2 Billion Shortfall: The State Week in Review

| October 8, 2011

As Florida Legislature budget committees met this week, gloom set in again. Medicaid costs are rising, schools need to find money, tax revenues are lagging. Gambling-industry lobbyists had a better week.

Continuing Charm Offensive, Rick Scott On C-Span for 45 Minutes; Watch Video

| August 11, 2011

Scott has been giving media interviews every day for the past two weeks in an effort to pull his approval rating from the abyss. He is trying to raise his likability.


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