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Governor Scott Gives & Takes Away

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Gov.-elect Rick Scott speaks at a breakfast before his inauguration.  (Source: CBS)

Gov.-elect Rick Scott speaks at a breakfast before his inauguration. (Source: CBS)

TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – Governor Rick Scott closed the door on the idea of shutting down some of Florida’s state parks, but was also put on the defensive for his plans to reduce funding to water management districts.

Scott’s refusal to shut down state parks comes after plans were released to temporarily close 53 of the state’s 160 state parks to meet spending cuts Scott asked for in his budget.

“We’ve got great parks, and we’ve got to make sure we preserve them and take care of them,” Scott said Friday after visiting the department’s headquarters.

But while Scott was making some nature lovers happy; he was angering water management districts with his 25 percent tax cut for the water districts.

Environmentalists fear the plan could reduce spending on Everglades restoration and water clean-up efforts in the St. John’s River.

Under Scott’s new budget, the South Florida Water Management District would lose more than $95 million in revenue collected from property taxes.

Scott said the districts would just have to operate with less money like taxpayers have to do because of Florida’s depressed economy.

His plan, like many of his budget cuts, is receiving a cool reception in the Florida legislature. State Representative Trudi Williams said she didn’t have a problem with the state not buying more land, but said the water management districts have to be able to do their jobs.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press and News Service Of Florida contributed to this report.)

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