THE VILLAGES — At a campaign-style event that banned some Democrats, Republican Gov. Rick Scott fashioned himself into Florida’s new veto king Thursday when he axed $615 million from the state budget before signing it.
The biggest target of the veto pen: $305 million targeted for environmental land buys. Scott also cut $169 million in college projects and vetoed millions in hometown spending lawmakers earmarked for their districts.
Scott blamed “special interests” for the “shortsighted, frivolous, wasteful spending” — thereby irking some of his fellow Republicans who control the Legislature. Some accused him of hypocrisy, others of inflating his veto amount with financial gimmickry.
Below a banner that read “Promises Made, Promises Kept,” Scott brandished his red Sharpie veto pen and called on legislators to use some of the freed-up money to bolster education.
In his speech Thursday, Scott omitted many of the serious-sounding programs he cut: homeless veterans, meals for poor seniors, a council for deafness, a children’s hospital, cancer research, public radio, whooping-cough vaccines for poor mothers or aid for the paralyzed.
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