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Rick Scott to release state budget in Jacksonville

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Gov. Rick Scott plans to release his recommended state budget Monday in Jacksonville.

Scott’s office said he will debut his “Florida First” budget for 2016-17 at 10 a.m., at Harbinger Sign on Shad Road.

The Florida Channel will carry the announcement live.

Earlier this month, Cynthia Kelly, Scott’s budget director, wrote a memo in which she previewed the spending plan.

Kelly said Florida “will have a record $29.8 billion of general revenue available next year – including $1.3 billion in new revenue.”

“Therefore, because of this historic level of revenue, Gov. Scott is proposing to cut $1 billion in taxes and make a one-time investment of $250 million towards economic incentives at Enterprise Florida this year,” she wrote.

Scott has proposed a $250 million Florida Enterprise Fund, aimed at overhauling the state’s business incentives program. It was modeled in part after a similar fund in Texas.

Crystal Sircy, chief operating officer of Enterprise Florida, told lawmakers this past week the $250 million would not be an annual request from lawmakers and is expected to last “several years.”

Kelly also disputed reports of the state only having a $635 million surplus, which Scott’s billion-dollar tax cut would turn into a budget deficit.

“A more appropriate ‘surplus’ is … almost $1.6 billion,” she said, based on her calculations. “Bottom line, there is more than sufficient revenue to fund all of the state’s mandatory increases, as well as the governor’s priorities, the Florida Enterprise Fund and the proposed $1 billion in tax cuts.”

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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