Some Voicing Concerns Over Florida Budget

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The John Riley Museum is the only house in Florida once owned by a freed slave still standing at its original location.

The museum had hoped for a quarter of million dollars in the budget to expand its education efforts. Museum director Althamese Barnes was disappointed to hear Jeb Bush killed the proposal with his veto pen.

Althamese Barnes says, "In every state except Florida, there is funding that comes through the Legislature to support these cultural preservation initiatives, so we were just hoping that we would succeed in bringing Florida in."

Jeb Bush scrapped a total of $180 million worth of special projects, everything from $1 million for defibrillators in police cars to $600,000 for farmers who lost business because of a constitutional amendment protecting pregnant pigs.

Gov. Jeb Bush says, "Those line items sometimes don’t meet a statewide priority or are part of the mission of state government."

The budget was a mixed bag for the Florida Highway Patrol. Troopers got an extra pay raise for the first time in a couple of years, but it was only half as much as what they were hoping for.

The bonus will range from $600 to $1,200 a year. FHP spokesman Ernie Duarte chose to look on the bright side.

MAJ Ernie Duarte says, "Certainly, it’s a start, along with the 3.6 percent increase that we’re going to get, so we’re very fortunate. We’re hoping to build upon that in the future."

So is the Riley House. They’re already working on next year’s budget.

The new state budget includes 67 million additional dollars for services for the developmentally disabled, and nearly as much more money for mental health services, and more than $100 million for senior citizen services.