It's long been a staple that a budget is as much a policy roadmap as a political statement, but Gov. Rick Scott is kicking it up a notch with his... er... the Republican Party of Florida's annnouncement that he'll be signing Florida's "jobs budget" Thursday in the friendliest of GOP places, The Villages retirement community.
And though it's called a jobs-creation budget, it will initially lead to the loss of budgeted state jobs, 4,492 to be exact. Scott says eliminating state-worker jobs is a necessity because it reduces the size of government and helps the private-sector business climate --a theory Democrats largely reject.
The budget Scott will sign looks little like the one he unveiled in Eustis, Florida before a mostly elderly, white conservative crowd. Scott's most indelible mark, roughly $37 million in corporate-income tax cuts as part of $300 million in tax cuts and business incentives. That's a far cry from the $2.4 billion in revenue reductions he called for. Also, the proposed $69.7 billion state budget actually accounts for higher-education spending -- something Scott left out of his proposal in order to make it look like he was slashing bottom-line spending by a huge amount, to $65.9 billion. Scott called for more than a 10 percent cut in per-student spending, something the Legislature balked at as well. He also rolled out two-budgets in one (that is, a spending plan for fiscal years 2011-12 and 2012-13. Together, Scott's proposal was 167 pages long. The proposed budget approved by the Legislature was 406 pages.
Despite those differences with his own plans, Scott will call the budget his own when he signs it. He'll also slash spending with his veto pen. TaxWatch has given him a roadmap to cut about $203 million (curiously, TaxWatch left off the $350k for House Speaker Dean Cannon's home county of Orange to help it prosecute accused killer mom Case Anthony).
Don't be surprised if Scott tries to one-up former Gov. Charlie Crist, who axed $459 million in his first year in office to win the record of top budget cutter. To get near Crist's record, Scott is likely to deeply cut spending for higher-education buildings (known as PECO appropriations).
Here's the announcement from the Republican Party of Florida on the event, issued by his former campaign spokesperson, Trey Stapleton, who's now RPOF's spokesperson:
On Thursday, May 26th, Governor Rick Scott will be signing the jobs budget in the Villages. I want to invite all Floridians to celebrate the historic signing of this critical bill that will put our state on the right path towards getting Floridia back to work. The details for the event are as follows:
Celebration for the Signing of Florida's Budget
May 26th, 2011
1022 Lake Sumter Landing
The Villages, FL 32162
Since taking office Governor Scott has focused on holding government accountable while creating opportunities for our state to grow and create jobs. This budget accomplishes those goals and much more.
During this celebration, Governor Scott will also have a special announcement that will further cement these principles into this session's work. Please come out in support of our Governor on Thursday and take part in this historic bill signing.
Hope to see you there,