Thanksgiving may be six months away, but on Friday, Gov. Rick Scott has “turkeys” on the menu.
Florida TaxWatch, the non-partisan government watchdog group, announced on Friday the annual “Budget Turkey List,” of almost $120 million in line-item projects that are part of the $77.1 billion budget passed by the Florida House and Senate on May 2.
Budget Turkeys are individual line items added to the spending plans—usually at the last minute or in committee — without a thoughtful and thorough budget process. A “Turkey” label does not pass judgment on the project’s overall worthiness, but instead it is a comment on the process. The purpose of the label is to make sure all projects using public funds are properly vetted.
For the 2013-2014 fiscal year, TaxWatch identified 107 Turkeys, for approximately $106 million in savings. Scott vetoed 71 (or 66%), saving taxpayers $71.1 million. During the first two years of Scott’s administration, the governor vetoed 70 percent of TaxWatch Turkeys for $244 million in savings.
In the past 27 years, Florida governors vetoed more than $2 billion in projects that have appeared on the TaxWatch report.
In the current budget, Florida TaxWatch recognized $42,600,000 in surplus projects in the Tampa Bay area, taken from a variety of state agencies, including the Departments of Transportation, Education and Economic Opportunity:
- USF Health Morsani College of Medicine $5,000,000
- CDC of Tampa – Work Readiness Training $200,000
- Men of Vision $100,000
- Tune Into Reading $250,000
- YMCA Tech Smart – Tampa Bay $100,000
- FL Conservation and Technology Center – Center for Conservation 3,000,000
- Port of Tampa Bay – Gantry Crane 12,000,000
- Temple Terrace Parkway Extension $600,000
- East County Regional Service/Resource Center – Hillsborough $500,000
- Hillsborough Homelessness Initiative $800,000
- MOSI – Design and Construction for STEAM Showcase and MOSI Tech $2,500,000
- Pasco Hernando State College – Construct Performing Arts Education Center $10,000,000
- PARC – Project Search $100,000
- Pinellas Ex-offender re-entry Coalition $150,000
- Florida Energy Technology Projects $250,000
- Transfer to DACS – sustainable biosolids to renewable energy $250,000
- Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 11-1 Sand Key Park $200,000
- Tarpon Springs Superfund Site Redevelopment – dredging, wharf stabilization $2,500,000
- Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center $500,000
- Mahaffey Theater Improvements – St. Petersburg $500,000
- Manatee County One Stop Community Resource Center $100,000
- Community Coalition Hot Meal Program $250,000
- Manatee Memorial Hospital ER Diversion Program $300,000
- Manatee River Fair $250,000
- Lakeland Regional Med Center – Family Health Center $1,000,000
- Emergency Disaster Warehouse – Polk County $1,200,000