Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday proposed a $66.4 billion budget for the coming year, down from this year’s $69.1 billion budget, but restoring previous cuts to education by $1 billion to reflect what he said he has learned is the top priority of Florida residents. Boosting education spending, though, will require cuts elsewhere, particularly with a revenue shortfall. “We have to make choices,” Scott said. The budget would cut 2,800 actual filled state jobs “all over” government, and would rely on cuts in health care spending. Scott noted that Medicaid spending has grown 180 percent since 1999 while general revenue has grown 30 percent. “You can’t do that,” Scott said. The plan also calls for cuts to the prison system. “We’ll have some prison closings,” the governor said, saying that the incarcerated population is expected to shrink. Overall, if lawmakers were to go along, the budget would be 4.6 percent smaller than this year.
Secretary of State Kurt Browning: