Florida TaxWatch identifies $42.6M in Tampa Bay “turkeys”

in Uncategorized by

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:

Hillsborough ($25,050,000)

  • 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 ($10,000,000):

  • Pasco Hernando State College – Construct Performing Arts Education Center $10,000,000

Pinellas ($4,450,000)

  • 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 ($900,000)

  • 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

Polk ($2,200,000)

  • Lakeland Regional Med Center – Family Health Center $1,000,000
  • Emergency Disaster Warehouse – Polk County $1,200,000

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.