Just as top legislators reached a budget deal Wednesday, Gov. Rick Scott launched a three-day tour to rally support for Enterprise Florida’s business recruitment efforts, Visit Florida’s tourism promotion and other budget priorities.
“We have a job to do the next three days,” Scott said at CWU, a Tampa federal contracting company, as part of his 10-city “Fighting for Florida’s Future” tour. The tour was meant to encourage Floridians to pressure their state legislators to reverse votes to cut funding to Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. “You can make it happen. … You’ve got to call your House members, you’ve got to call your senators and let them know.”
Scott said he can veto individual line items in the budget or the budget as a whole, but he noted that he can’t add anything to the budget. Only legislators can do that, he said, and they should appropriate money for both Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida.
While Scott is expected to sign a bill to create a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, he also said the Legislature needed to appropriate $200 million to help fix the Herbert Hoover Dike at the lake.
In addition to Tampa, Scott’s schedule for Wednesday called on him to visit a power grid engineering company in Lake Mary, an environmental consulting firm in Riviera Beach and a Kia dealership in Sunrise.
Scott’s appearance in Tampa came about an hour after House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron announced they had reached an agreement on an $83 billion state budget.
But Scott the Legislature’s process left him with “no earthly idea” what was in the proposed budget and criticized negotiations that had been “done in the dark.”
“That’s not the way your tax dollars ought to be spent,” Scott said. “That’s not right. We should know what’s going on.”
"I don't know how much money is in, if any, for Enterprise Florida, for Visit Florida, for the environment, for education,” Scott said. “I have no idea. There's no disclosure of this. I can't imagine. We have sunshine laws in this state. All of us are supposed to know what's going on."
Asked whether he would consider vetoing the budget if legislators did not include any of his priorities, Scott said, "I'm going to look at my options. That’s an option I have. But what I do every year is I go through (the budget) and say what's good for our Florida families? I represent everybody in the state, so I'm going to do what's best for every family in the state."