Florida Democrats are hitting Gov. Rick Scott and Republican leadership over a budget deal announced Friday.
In a statement, Florida Democratic Party spokeswoman Johanna Cervone said the budget deal fails the state’s working families, while funneling money to Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida.
“Not only does this budget deal funnel millions to private for-profit charter schools, remove oversight from local school boards, and short-change Florida’s children–it was negotiated in secret, and the end result will bring millions to Scott and Corcoran’s corporate benefactors,” she said in a statement. “Rick Scott and Richard Corcoran represent dirty, backroom politics at its worst, and this secret budget fails Florida’s working families.”
Scott, Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron announced Friday morning lawmakers will convene in a special session from June 7 to June 9 to tackle several issues relating to the budget.
The announcement coincided with news that Scott signed the budget 2017-18 budget, vetoing $410 million in legislative projects. The Naples Republican also vetoed the Florida Educational Finance Program, which funds K-12 public education, and a bill that, among other things, slashed funding for Visit Florida Funding by 60 percent. A full list of vetoes is expected to be released later today, according to the Governor’s Office.
The governor is calling on the Legislature to provide an additional $215 million to K-12 public education, which would increase per student funding by $100; establish the Florida Job Growth Fund to promote public infrastructure and individual job training and fund it at $85 million, the same amount he requested for incentive programs for Enterprise Florida; and pass legislation that sets aside $76 million for Visit Florida and includes comprehensive transparency and accountability measures for the organization.
In return for reaching a compromise on his top priorities, the governor is expected to sign a wide-sweeping education bill (HB 7069), a top priority for Corcoran, and a higher education bill (SB 374), a top priority for Negron.
In a separate statement, House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz of Tampa called the Special Session “a farce being inflicted upon the people of Florida.”
“To pretend this newest backroom deal will help public education in our state is laughable,” she said. “That politicians in positions of leadership are willing to sell out our public schools by approving the creation of a $140 million slush fund for private charter school operators in exchange for an $85 million slush fund for corporate welfare is the epitome of everything that people despise about politics.
“Welcome to the swamp.”