BRADENTON – Governor Rick Scott vetoed nearly $368 million in spending from the state’s budget before signing it into law on Monday. As promised, Scott took the veto stamp to a number of high-dollar funding projects that he determined to be unworthy and/or geared toward funneling money to lawmakers' districts.
Using his line-item veto, Scott crossed off a number of big-money projects including a $50 million cross-coast bicycle trail called the "Coast-to-Coast Connector." Scott's extensive cuts lowered the budget from $74.5 billion to $74.1 billion.
Included were $25 million in various local water projects, though $1 million directed to Manatee County survived. The governor also vetoed the 3 percent tuition increases for state colleges and universities, which he'd strongly hinted would be the case since before the session.
The cuts were the most the governor made since his first year. Scott, who's been seen as somewhat of an outsider since upsetting the establishment Republican candidate in the 2010 gubernatorial primary, had to endure the 2010 and 2011 sessions knowing that his party held a veto-proof majority. Republicans lost ground in 2012, requiring them to once again need his signature.
Scott, who only narrowly defeated Democrat Alex Sink in 2010 despite broad Republican victories in every other statewide race, faces reelection in 2014. He moved notably toward the center in the run-up to the 2013 session, calling for statewide teacher raises and reversing his position on Medicaid expansion, though he was unable to secure both measures.
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