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Rick Scott defends record-setting budget vetoes

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday defended his latest round of budget vetoes, which set a modern-day record for a governor but came from a long list of spending projects, including money intended for public universities and compensation for homeowners whose trees were torn down by the state. Scott late last week vetoed nearly $11.9 billion from the state budget as part of a private deal he worked out with legislative leaders. Legislators will return to the state Capitol for…

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Tampa Bay region marked for $33M in Florida TaxWatch ‘turkeys’

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Florida TaxWatch, the nonpartisan government watchdog organization, served up its annual list of “Budget Turkeys,” naming almost $178 million in line-item projects part of the $82.4 billion budget passed May 8 by the Florida House and Senate. For the Tampa Bay region, Florida TaxWatch targeted more than $33 million in local projects as individual line items added to the spending plans—usually last minute or in committee — without a thoughtful and thorough budget process. The largest project in the region…

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Rick Scott gets $178M serving of Florida TaxWatch ‘budget turkeys’

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Thanksgiving is six months away, but Friday is “turkey” day for Gov. Rick Scott. Florida TaxWatch, the nonpartisan government watchdog group, released its annual “Budget Turkey List,” of almost $178 million in line-item projects that are part of the $82.4 billion budget passed May 8 by the Florida House and Senate. Budget Turkeys are individual line items added to the spending plans—usually last minute or in committee — without a thoughtful and thorough budget process. A “Turkey” label does not…

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PSTA, HART take steps to formal working partnership

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The two agencies responsible for bus service in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties already collaborate, but in the future, they plan to have a tighter working partnership. On Wednesday, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority’s legislative committee got its first look at a proposed agreement that could result in the merger of some departments. The general goal is to streamline services to save money and provide better service for transit riders, PSTA CEO Brad Miller said. The agreement sets out areas in…

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Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council may take on poverty as a regional issue

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A six-county agency has taken the first step to trying a different approach to help needy Tampa Bay neighborhoods. The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council unanimously voted Monday to have staff members discuss strategies with a representative of the Rutgers University Business School and its Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. It is unclear when officials are expected to come back to the council with a report or recommendations. “It’s exciting,” said former Pinellas County Commissioner Barbara Sheen Todd.…

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More judges needed for Pinellas, Pasco says Sixth Circuit Chief Judge

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Judges are needed in Pasco and Pinellas counties, says 6th Judicial Circuit Judge J. Thomas McGrady. The Pinellas-Pasco Chief Judge is calling for more magistrates to adequately serve the region, reports LobbyTools. The 6th Judicial Circuit is the third-largest in Florida. “We can build additional courtrooms but nothing’s going to happen unless we have more judges to oversee them,” McGrady told the meeting of the Hillsborough County Commission. “We haven’t had a new judge in 10 years. Get the (state)…

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Gulf Coast scallop season’s here

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

Regulations and harvest areas have been set for the Florida Gulf Coast’s June 27 to Sept. 24 bay scallop season. Two gallons of whole bay scallops in their shell, or one pint of bay scallop meat per person is permitted for harvesting throughout the Gulf Coast’s four open harvest zones: St. Joseph Bay, St. Marks, Steinhatchee, and Homosassa. Collectively, these four harvest zones connect and run up from the Pasco-Hernando County line, just north of Tampa, to the west bank…

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