Despite the emergence of the conservative "new Senate," budget documents suggest senators are using old tricks to spend more money in and around their districts.
Senators are asking for $86.7 million in spending for capital projects that the college system didn't request, according to Public Education Capital Outlay records. A number of major projects appear in prominent lawmakers home turf, including Senate President Jeff Atwater, President-designate Mike Haridopolos and budget chief J.D. Alexander, and GOP Chairman John Thrasher.
Palm Beach State College, near Atwater's district, appears to benefit the most with $26.3 million that the college system never asked for. Valencia Community College in Osceloa County, close to Haridopolos' home, would receive the single largest chunk at $21.7 million for a library and high tech building. Polk State College, near Alexander's turf, would get a $12.2 million bonus. Florida State College in Jacksonville in Thrasher's domain would see another $2.5 million for a commercial vehicle driving center.
The earmarks, if they survive the final budget process, appear destined for a "turkey" list, parlance in Tallahassee for member projects.