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Tea party reps urge Scott to kill high-speed rail, make more budget cuts

A pair of tea partiers from the Tampa area asked for and received a meeting today with Gov. Rick Scott, whose rise in politics is closely intertwined with the conservative grassroots movement.

Sharon Calbert of the Tampa Tea Party and Karen Jaroch of the Tampa 9-12 Project said they asked Scott to cut state spending even more than he is proposing and warned him about the financial risks of building high-speed rail.

"You've taken federal dollars," said Calbert, 53, of Lutz. "There is a risk there."

"There is no reason to accept it," said Jaroch, 46, of Tampa.

Both women said they were grateful Scott sat down with them and would pass that message along to their fellow tea party members. "We had an opportunity to present our case," Calbert said. "

Jaroch noted that Scott has already met with Japan Foreign Minister Seiji Maehar, U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Orlando, and other supporters of the rail project. "I believe we're the first ones opposed to rail that have had a meeting with him," Jaroch said.

The duo was in Eustis on Monday, when Scott unveiled his budget during a tea party rally, but are not thrilled with the product (although for different reasons from some Republican lawmakers).

"We don't think it went far enough," Jaroch said, saying teachers, police officers and state workers should contribute more than 5 percent as Scott has recommended.

Calbert and Jaroch made the four-hour drive from Tampa for the meeting. They planned to knock on doors of some lawmakers while they're at the Capitol today.