Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Scott Can't Take Budget Action Yet

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Scott Can't Take Budget Action Yet

Article excerpt

Byline: Tia Mitchell

I've been receiving calls and text messages from people asking about Gov. Rick Scott's annual budget vetoes. When will we know what projects he has vetoed? Will he set a new record for axing spending from the budget?

The answer is: We still don't know. The governor can't act on legislation he doesn't have. And so far his office has only received one budget-related bill: the tax-cut package he signed into law on Thursday.

The Legislature approved the budget and related bills on May 8. We're just shy of three weeks since then, but none of the other budget bills have been sent to Scott's office for action.

Like I always do when I have budget-related questions, I consulted the expert: The Associated Press' Gary Fineout. He says in his personal blog that the power struggle between House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Scott continues to play out even though the session is over. Politics may explain why the governor still hasn't received the budget, which would put him on the clock to take actions that determine how much the state spends over the next year.

"In most years, Memorial Day weekend is sort of the end of the legislative season," Fineout wrote. "By this time school is about to end around the state, and the governor has usually acted on a new state budget. But as we have seen this isn't an ordinary year as Gov. Rick Scott and Republicans continue their all-out public feud over spending and legislative priorities (or as Corcoran puts it - a fight for the soul of the party)."

Fineout went back and looked at how the budget was handled the previous six sessions in Scott's administration. The longest the House and Senate took to send him the appropriations legislation was 28 days in 2012. But that was a year that the session ended in March, so Scott still received the budget with nearly three months to spare before the start of the fiscal year.

Things are different now. We are about a month away from the July 1 start of the fiscal year and there is a strong possibility Scott, who has 15 days to take action once he receives a bill, could veto substantial portions of the budget. That could necessitate a special session. …

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