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TaxWatch finds far fewer budget 'turkeys' than Gov. Scott did

Better late than never, Florida TaxWatch has issued its annual Turkey Watch. The business-backed policy group compiled a list of 143 projects totaling $105 million that were added to the budget "without proper public review." That's about 25 percent below last year's Turkey Watch list and the lowest since 2010, the last budget year before Gov. Rick Scott took office.

Scott eliminated $256.1 million in what he considered wasteful spending when he signed the $82 billion budget into law last Thursday, pre-empting TaxWatch's ability to recommend which projects should be approved or vetoed.

There are cases where TaxWatch sees waste and abuse of the appropriations process, but where Scott sees a prudent use of taxpayer money. Here are three projects TaxWatch labeled as turkeys that Scott approved:

* Osceola County schools construction, $4 million.

* Clearwater McMullen Tennis Foundation, $100,000.

* National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women Convention, $75,000.

The TaxWatch report is here.

In its Turkey Watch report, TaxWatch is recommending that the Legislature pass laws requiring competitive selection processes in a number of budget areas, such as water projects, economic development projects and school-related projects. (That system is already in place for parks and historic and cultural grants, which are ranked by selection committees every year).

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