Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bush Defends Cutting WW II Memorial Funds

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bush Defends Cutting WW II Memorial Funds

Article excerpt

TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Jeb Bush wholeheartedly supports construction of a memorial to honor World War II veterans, his spokesman says.

But he doesn't want to fund it now.

Some Democrats zeroed in on Bush when he vetoed $200,000 for the memorial last week, but his staff contends it is all a matter of timing.

"They don't need the funding yet," Communications Director Cory Tilley said. "They won't start construction until 2005."

Bush signed bills authorizing the memorial and setting up a trust fund for state and private contributions, but the state money for it fell victim to his crackdown on legislative appropriations that did not have statewide application or had not undergone proper scrutiny.

Rep. Marjorie Turnbull, D-Tallahassee, the sponsor of the memorial bill in the House, said the fact that construction was several years away was inconsequential.

"The point is, this is seed money," Turnbull said. She said it was needed to begin planning the memorial and soliciting private donations.

Bush's budget director, Donna Arduin, said the Legislature randomly inserted the memorial appropriation into a long list of parks projects that were vetoed because they had not been evaluated and ranked by the Environmental Protection Department.

Arduin acknowledged that the decision was not easy.

"It's an example of the type of program that we hate to veto," Arduin said.

Tilley said he saw no problem with getting a state appropriation for the memorial in the future when construction is closer.

The bill that Bush signed directs the Commission on Veterans Affairs to recommend a location and design for the memorial by Jan. 31, 2002, and requires construction to start by 2005.

If the timing was bad for those seeking the appropriation, it was also bad for Bush, who vetoed it right before Memorial Day. …

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