Governor Bush Signs Off on State Budget

He signed the $64.7 billion spending plan Thursday morning, but he also chopped millions that communities across the state say they really needed.

It took just a few seconds for Jeb Bush to sign the state’s nearly $65 billion budget into law. He credited Florida’s booming economy for the infusion of cash.

Gov. Jeb Bush says, “We have more money to spend this year because business is thriving. This state is bustin’ loose.”

But all that extra money won’t be going to hundreds of projects often called “budget turkeys” because they didn’t go through the proper channels. The governor chopped
$180 million in road projects, after school programs for disadvantaged kids, nursing programs, and community health services to name a few.

Project Child director Sally Butzin took the news hard. Her innovative program helps struggling students around the state do well on their FCAT and pass the third grade. The governor slashed a half-million dollar expansion effort that would have reached 2,500 more kids.

Sally says, “We are certainly very, very disappointed and we’re disappointed for the kids that will not be able to be served this year, but we’re optimistic that next year will be better. “

Incoming House Democratic leader Dan Gelber blasted the governor for vetoing community needs while passing about the same dollar amount in tax breaks for well-off Floridians.

Rep. Dan Gelber, (D) Miami Beach, says, “Almost all the money he cut was to our most vulnerable citizens and in the same stroke, almost in the same breath, he is saying we need to really worry about our millionaires.”

The money saved by the vetoes will go into the state’s rainy day fund.

The new budget that takes effect July 1 includes a nearly nine percent boost in education funding. It also includes sales tax holidays on hurricane supplies and back-to-school items.