Gov. Rick Scott, lawmakers to return for special session

Posted June 04, 2017

The uncertainty surrounding the state budget turned a lot less uncertain Friday morning.

Governor Rick Scott, along with House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron, made the announcement at Miami International Airport on Friday.

A laundry list of disagreements between Gov. Rick Scott and Republican lawmakers has apparently been ironed out, with a deal that will have Scott signing next year's state budget, with a caveat that lawmakers return for a special session next week to make changes he wants.

The compromise also included a significant increase in per-student funding, from the $24 per student lawmakers had initially agreed to, to the $100-per-student Scott pushed for. "From the vantage point of the Senate, we have been supportive of the governor having the ability to compete for new employers to come to Florida as long as it's done in a transparent and reasonable way", said Negron, R-Stuart, pointing out that the Senate funded Scott's budget requests for Enterprise Florida and tourism-marketer Visit Florida.

"Like the Legislature, I strongly believe in transparency, accountability and a strong return on investment for any taxpayer dollars used".

"I think we have the outlines for a tremendous session, a productive session and one that will do great things for the people of Florida", Corcoran said Friday. But the cost of this detente is too steep, with the governor poised to allow horrendous legislation to become law that would further dismantle public education.

Over the last few months Scott had traveled across the state and had railed against legislators for failing to fund his top priorities - including money for business incentives and money for Florida's tourism marketing agency - in the new budget.

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Florida received its first payment almost a year ago, but the fate of the money remained in limbo.

The new program will be called the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund and will be run through the state's Department of Economic Opportunity.

State college advocates are also asking Scott to veto their $1.2 billion portion of the budget, with the hope it would force lawmakers to restore a $30 million cut in remedial-education funding for the 28-school system.

The state still can offer tax rebates to businesses through programs such as the Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund program, which typically requires a local government match.

"Our lovely beaches were devastated by the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill", Scott said in a statement. Pinellas County will have a harder time finding money to fulfill its commitment to improve failing elementary schools in south St. Petersburg, making it even easier for Corcoran's charter school scheme to take root.

A proposal for $750,000 for medical cannabis research at the Moffitt Cancer Center was snuffed as the money was tied to a failed effort (SB 406) by Legislators to carry out a voter-approved constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana.