Gov. Rick Scott has called tuition increases a tax on Florida families and vetoed a 3 percent increase in this year's budget. But he has also approved tuition increases, both in 2011 and 2012. A story in Saturday's paper digs into the governor's philosophy on tuition hikes:
“We owe it to the families in our state who are paying tuition today and those planning to pay tuition for the next generation of Floridians to be direct: Raising tuition is a tax increase,” Scott wrote in the National Review Online. “And, unfortunately, it is a tax increase that directly affects whether Floridians can achieve the American dream of earning a higher-education diploma.”
If true, count Scott among the tax raisers.
While Scott proudly vetoed a 3 percent tuition hike last month, his 2011 budget included an 8 percent hike for students, at a cost of roughly $50 million. Scott also approved a 5 percent tuition increase for state colleges in 2012, saying that “colleges remain best positioned to weigh the needs of their institutions against the burden of increased student costs.”
When asked Friday about the discrepancies between his recent words and his past actions, Scott blamed the Legislature. He said the 2011 tuition increase was also included in a second, broader bill that the governor was reluctant to veto.
He said he would veto the same bill if it appeared on his desk today.