Sen. Gary Siplin’s efforts for urban revitalization nixed again

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A trio of Orlando area redevelopment projects pushed by Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, were crossed out by Gov. Rick Scott’s veto pen on Tuesday, including two that were vetoed by Scott last year as well, reports the News Service of Florida.  Scott used his line item veto power to reject $900,000 for the “Renaissance of the Parramore neighborhood” program in downtown Orlando. Scott vetoed the same amount for that item in last year’s budget. The program and other local projects were questioned earlier this year when they were put in the Senate Transportation and Economic Development budget, particularly when lawmakers were having to make cuts to other programs. “If the governor vetoed these dollars, why are we putting them back in the budget?” Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, asked back in February when the Senate economic development budget committee decided to try again to get the programs paid for. Fasano argued at the time that affordable housing programs were losing out to a community program that would probably be veoted again. Scott also on Tuesday rejected $2 million for a “Pine Hills Neighborhood Redevelopment Project,” another project that Siplin, D-Orlando, has pushed. Last year, the budget included $3.4 million for that effort, and Scott rejected it – this year’s smaller effort was also vetoed. Scott also cut out $1 million for renovation and expansion of the Dr. J.B. Callahan Neighborhood Center in Parramore. Siplin recently told an Orlando TV station that the money was needed – and it was only fair. “Even though we may be in a blighted area – they may be in Callahan or Parramore, but they pay taxes too,” Siplin told Orlando’s WOFL Fox 35 News. “They too want to see the return of their dollars back in their community so they can begin to continue to grow.”

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.