Published: Sat, June 03, 2017
Medical | By Carla Vaughn

Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders work out budget deal

Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders work out budget deal

Scott officially signed the Legislature's budget Friday while vetoing the section dealing with per-pupil education funding.

Scott, Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron announced Friday morning lawmakers will convene in a special session from June 7 to June 9 to tackle several issues relating to the budget.

Scott had originally called for Visit Florida to receive $100 million next year but that amount was rejected by lawmakers.

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

Corcoran pushed to abolish Enterprise Florida and eventually settled on eliminating funding for the agency, leaving Scott - who bills himself as the "jobs governor" - incensed.

Another priority for Corcoran was to slash funding for VISIT FLORIDA, which drew heavy scrutiny from lawmakers in the wake of a secretive $1 million deal with Miami rapper Pitbull.

Competing for jobs, Scott has argued, means retaining a system of economic incentives. Under the deal reached by the governor and lawmakers, the reduced funding for the state's economic development partnership will remain, but Scott will be given $85 million to offer incentives to locating or expanding businesses.

Scott, a two-term Republican who has loyally supported the school choice movement, had refrained from taking a position on HB 7069.

The press conference comes days after legislative leaders sent the governor Florida's budget.

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There was speculation that Scott might veto the entire budget after lawmakers ignored his priorities.

Scott is also expected to veto about $300 million in special projects lawmakers included in the budget.

“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. Scott argues that incentives are critical for job creation in the state.

"Rick Scott and Richard Corcoran represent dirty, backroom politics at its worst, and this secret budget fails Florida's working families", Florida Democratic Party spokeswoman Johanna Cervone said in a statement.

The bill also includes a requirement that schools provide 20 minutes of recess a day for children in up to fifth grade. The bill would have capped Enterprise Florida salaries at $130,273. The budget approved last month had only a $24.49 per-student increase.

Scott toured the state criticizing the spending cuts.

As lawmakers prepare for next week's special session, one issue that remains up in the air is medical marijuana.

Voters overwhelmingly passed an amendment to the state constitution in 2016 allowing for expanded use of medical marijuana, but legislators failed to agree on a statewide framework for its management and sale, leaving the Department of Health to come up with guidelines next month.

Legislators will return for a special session next week where they are expected to approve spending $100 more for each public school student.

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