Gov. Scott Wants to Boost School Spending By 1.2 Billion

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Tallahassee, FL -- Florida's Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) and House Speaker Will Weatherfod (R-Wesley Chapel) stood side by side a month before legislative session began and vowed to tackle some of the problems plaguing the sunshine state.

Their five-point "Work Plan Florida" agenda includes ethics reform, campaign finance reform, higher education reform, pension reform, and an elections review.

"There are some issues that should be above and beyond the politics of the day, and there are some issues that will take care of themselves," said Rep. Weatherford.

Pension reform plans included doing away with the current defined benefit plan for new hires in 2014.

The two legislators also addressed Governor Rick Scott's statement earlier Wednesday to boost school spending by $1.2 billion in the coming year.

"Right now our budget shows that we don't have a billion and two in surplus so certianly to get to that number you would have to make some cuts somewhere else," said Rep. Weatherford.

Gaetz and Weatherford both said they'd have a better idea of where that somewhere else might be after seeing Governor Scott's suggested budget which is expected to be released on Thursday.

Associated Press Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott wants to boost school spending by $1.2 billion in the coming year.

Scott is expected to release his 2013 budget recommendations on Thursday.

The governor outlined his top spending priorities during The Associated Press' 19th annual planning meeting.

Scott says the $1.2 billion increase for K-12 schools would include a nearly $500 million boost in teacher salaries he has already proposed. The governor wants to give a $2,500 across the board pay raise to every teacher.

The Republican governor outlined other top priorities including eliminating a new sales tax exemption for manufacturers that purchase industrial equipment and machinery.

Scott refused Wednesday to say whether he would recommend accepting federal aid in order to expand Medicaid coverage.

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