Reporting Tim Kephart
Legislative Session Coverage
TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami.com/NSF) – Florida Governor Rick Scott released his 2012-2013 $66.4 billion budget Wednesday that will have to tackle a projected $2 billion shortfall without raising taxes.
Scott said he will ask the state legilslature to increase per-student spending by $100 for a total of approximately $1 billion.
Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie already knows how he will spend the new money.
“One of the big issues is class size and we’ll invest in more teachers,” Runcie said. “One of the biggest hits has been to the arts, so we will do what we can to improve the outlook for children.”
South Florida parents like Kathleen Girouard say it’s about time Tallahassee invests in education.
- Click here to see high points on the budget from Governor Scott’s office.
“Absolutely welcome they will provide for children; it should have been a long time ago,” Girouard said. “I love these teachers. I feel for them. They give their lives and look what happens.
Democrats in the Florida Legislature pointed out Tuesday that while the increase in spending is good; the current year’s education spending was cut by $1.3 billion.
That means, according to Democrats, that spending after the proposed increase won’t bring education spending back to the level before Scott took office, according to the News Service of Florida.
Per-student spending peaked at more than $7,100 per child in 2007-2008. Since then, it has dropped by nearly $1,000 to the current year’s spending level of $6,262.
According to the News Service of Florida, the proposed budget would cut 2,800 currently filled state jobs from across the government and would rely on cuts in health spending.
“We have to make choices,” Scott told the NSF.
But the cuts will be on top of the cuts that will have to be made to close the $2 billion budget hole.
Among the biggest targets of the cuts will be the state-federally funded Medicaid program.
Scott said Medicaid spending has grown 180 percent since 1999 while general revenue has only grown 30 percent.
Governor Scott also said that prison spending would decrease because the prison population is expected to shrink.
Overall, the proposed budget would be a 4.6 percent cut from last year, according to the NSF.
(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)