Florida lawmakers approved an $83 billion dollar budget Monday night. The question now is whether it will survive the Gov. Rick Scott’s veto pen.
A spokeswoman for the Governor’s Office says the governor has indicated he will keep all of options on the table, those options include a full veto of the spending plan or line item vetoes.
The budget dramatically cuts spending to two areas that Gov. Scott considers essential to Florida’s economic development efforts. The plan slashes funding for Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development agency, and Visit Florida which is responsible for state’s tourism marketing. The governor says the money is crucial in order o lure new businesses to Florida and to adequately market the state as a tourist destination.
While some of the governor’s budget priorities may have been shutout of the final spending plan, legislative leaders are confident he will be pleased with the overall product. “I think there’s a lot in the budget the governor is going to like,” said Senate President Joe Negron. “I see the budget as sharing principles with the governor and so I think it’s our job for the next couple of weeks to make the case.”
It’s expected that when he receives the budget, Gov. Scott will–at the very least–use his veto pen to target items of interest to lawmakers who pushed for the economic development cuts, including House Speaker Richard Corcoran. The speaker referred to the funding for Enterprise Florida as “corporate welfare” and criticized Visit Florida for its spending practices after it was revealed last year the agency paid rapper Pitbull to promote Florida in his work.
The Governor could also decide to veto the entire budget and force lawmakers to return to Tallahassee to either pass a new spending plan or override the Governor’s veto before the start of the new fiscal year on July 1. A veto override would require a two-thirds vote by the Legislature.
The budget was approved by more than two-thirds of both legislative chambers which is what lawmakers would need to override the governor if he were to veto the entire spending plan. “It passed both chamber overwhelmingly,” said Corcoran.
The last time a governor vetoed the entire budget was in 1992 when Lawton Chiles vetoed a spending plan because it did not include tax increases to help offset budget shortfalls.