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Faced with election, will Rick Scott embrace pet projects?

Gov. Rick Scott is about to meet the dark side of a budget surplus.

With about $1.2 billion in surplus revenue, senators are showing no hesitation in stuffing hometown projects into next year’s budget, testing Scott’s penchant for vetoing pet spending (though not all).

The senate’s appropriations subcommittee on transportation, tourism and economic development released its proposed $11.7 billion budget Monday and it's larded up like it was 2006 all over again.

Will Scott have the temerity in an election year to veto the projects? And which ones will make the cut?

Not so fast. First they have to be approved by the entire Senate and then the House, which has yet to release details on its budget.

But TED’s preliminary budget is a start. Here are the highlights:  

-- Overall, the Senate is proposing to spend $9.7 billion on transportation, or about $135 million more than Scott.

-- Senate's TED and Scott agree on one thing: Ports. TED’s $129 million on seaports nearly matches what Scott is recommending, proving maritime expenses continue to be popular with lawmakers.

-- A host of local economic development projects, including $2.5 million for a Tarpon Springs dredging and wharf project; $1.5 million for a Wakulla County dredging channel project; and $770,000 for a Punta Gorda airport terminal (all of which were not recommended by Scott).

-- A raft of cultural projects, including $1 million the Circus Arts Conservatory in Sarasota; $250,000 for the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg; $250,000 for the Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach; $200,000 for the Military Museum and Memorial of South Florida; $85,000 for Pensacola Little Theatre; and $300,000 for the History Miami-Operation Pedro Pan Exhibition.

-- More cultural projects, including $500,000 for the South Florida Science Museum; $500,000 for the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center; $216,000 for the Friends of the Bass Museum; $500,000 for the Naples Botanical Garden; $100,000 for the Lowry Park Zoological Society of Tampa; $75,000 for the Titusville Playhouse; $500,000 for Opera Naples; $500,000 for the Museum of Discovery and Science, Inc.

-- Community development projects like Miracle League of Miami Dade for Miracle Field, which is for special needs youth, for $2.5 million; Building Homes for Heroes for $1 million; Clearwater Marine Aquarium for $1 million; $750,000 for Miami Dade Downtown Authority for improvements to Museum Park.

-- Historic Preservation projects, like $1 million for renovation and repair of New Port Richey’s Hacienda Hotel; $500,000 for McCullom Hall in Fort Myers; $150,000 for the acquisition of St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum; $350,000 for the Pensacola Lighthouse & Museum Tower restoration project.

The list goes on.

The Legislature has quite a few chips to play in this game.

Workforce state training for STEM and other high-skill or high-wage jobs is one of Scott's pet causes. He proposed spending $30 million.

The Senate? $0.

Let the bartering begin.

Comments

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GRADY MUHAMMAD

I DONT SEE 1 ONE BLACK LAWMAKERS LIST OF PROIORITIES FOR THE BLACK COMMUITIES THEY SERVE. A SHAME B 4 GOD. SORRY BLACK POLITICANS, NOTHING HAS CHANGED IN HOUSE DISTRICTS 108-109 SENATE DISTRICS 33 & 36. WHY? BECAUSE REPUBLICANS RULE TALLAHSSEE, DEMS ARE NOT ON THE RADAR.

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