Sun Sentinel Editorial
June 5, 2017
Florida once served as a national model for good government. These days, the state is more like a national joke.
The budget deal that Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday is lousy in terms of substance and how the deal came about.
• It would give public schools some temporary operating cash, but poke a long-term hole in funds for construction and maintenance.
• It would give the governor an $85 million slush fund for economic development.
• It would come at the expense of state colleges and many worthy local projects.
The deal is the exclusive work of Scott, Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart; and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes. Each can claim victory as the state loses.
After this week’s special session, Negron will be able to say the extra $215 million for public schools is more like what the Senate proposed than the tight-fisted House. He also will get his priorities — a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to help estuaries and the Everglades, and more money for universities.
Gov. Scott will be able to say he won back $76 million for tourism promotion and $85 million for economic development, his top priorities. The new money for economic development is targeted for infrastructure and workforce training. But consider, the Florida Department of Transportation already funds roads and bridges under a disciplined five-year schedule. And state colleges already provide workforce training for targeted industries. So why does Florida need another bureaucracy to do similar work under the Department of Economic Opportunity? Can you say “slush fund?” [READ MORE]