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Governor Rick Scott Reveals New Proposed Budget

Dec. 7, 2011 | WMFE - Gov. Rick Scott has unveiled his proposed budget for the next fiscal year. It calls for $66.4 billion in spending. That's $4.5 billion less than the current budget. However, Scott now says one area he doesn't plan to cut is education.

Scott is proposing a $1 billion increase that focuses on grades K-12. “Despite tough economic times, this investment will provide the third highest level of state funding ever into Florida’s 67 school districts at $9.5 billion,” he says.

It’s an about-face for Scott, who proposed a ten percent cut in education last year. Lawmakers ultimately gave him an eight percent cut.

The hike he wants now would increase spending by just over $100 per student. Scott is proposing $4.6 billion in spending cuts from other parts of the state budget to get it.

Some of the heaviest cuts would come from the state-federal Medicaid program. “Our current system of reimbursing Medicaid hospital providers is unfair, illogical and incredibly expensive to Florida families and businesses,” Scott says. “For example, in Miami Dade County, four hospitals, all with 15 percent or more in charity care, have inpatient rates ranging from $659 to $1,910 per day.”

Scott wants a flat rate of Medicaid reimbursement for hospital groups. Without changes, he says the program will bankrupt the state.

Besides funding the school increases, the cuts also would offset a potential deficit of nearly $2 billion and tax cuts.

This is the second budget Scott has proposed, but the first he's announced at the Capitol. The Republican governor unveiled his first budget at a tea party event in central Florida.

Lawmakers will begin drafting a budget in January.



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