Rick Scott vetoes $2.5 million for regional planning councils — again

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Among the 2012-13 state budget line items vetoedby Gov. Rick Scott this week was $2.5 million for the state’s 11 regional planning councils — for the second year in a row, reports Bruce Ritchie.

The planning councils under state law are responsible for reviewing local development proposals and establishing regional plans that include economic development. The councils hosted a series of Department of Economic Opportunity meetings across the state earlier this year to develop a five-year strategic economic development plan.

Scott’s veto action this week left the regional planning councils, counties and some growth management supporters concerned.

The regional planning councils “have responsibility under the growth management law, so I think it is appropriate for the state to provide some level of assistance,” said Charles Pattison, president of 1000 Friends of Florida.

The governor didn’t say this week why the money for the regional planning councils was vetoed.

“I use my best efforts to say what is best for all the taxpayers of the state — it is not an easy task,” he said on Tuesday. There was no response Thursday to a request for comment from the governor’s office.

Last year, Scott vetoed the money because “there was a lack of performance measures and metrics documenting the effectiveness and need for (regional planning councils) to justify state funding at the time,” a spokeswoman for the governor said in February.

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.