Reporting Al Sunshine
Legislative Session Coverage
MIAMI (CBS4) – Florida’s almost $70-billion dollar budget funds critical statewide services, adds a little extra to education and should help the state maintain a solid credit rating, but South Florida took a big punch from Governor Rick Scott’s veto pen to the tune of $25 million.
Financial Planner Matt McGrath crunched the numbers and said, “The cuts this year that the Governor had last minute were less than last year in terms of the specific cuts..so it’s a little bit better. Similar to the average person having to balance their own budget.”
But it also eliminated about 4000 state jobs and slashed some critical social-service and health programs.
Last minute vetoes by Governor Rick Scott cost South Florida big and cost the whole state roughly $142 million dollars.
It may not be much of a surprise because Miami-Dade County and Broward County are both heavily Democratic regions.
On this year’s chopping block: The Bay of Pigs Museum, a Holocaust Education Center, expansion of Miami’s Design District and several local Autism projects.
Beyond the raw numbers, the service cuts to local autism programs are expected to hurt local families according to Dr. Jennifer Durocher of the UM/NSU Autism Center.
“We have about 500 to 1000 new families register with us I’d say, each year,” said Dr. Durocher. “And our budget is not keeping up with it. We’re really at our max capacity providing services for needy families and are stretched as thin as we can possibly be stretched.”
Despite millions in local funding cuts, some local taxpayers told CBS Miami they’re not willing to pay any higher taxes or fees to give the state more spending money.
“It’s bad, but at the end of the day I think they have to cut their spending,” Kendall Resident Yoendris Nunuez said.
“I’m not in favor of paying more taxes for those programs,” Miami Beach’s Michelle Saratco added. “I think if they want to raise money they should use other avenues, you know make other cuts on your own.”
Florida’s new budget kicks in starting July 1st.
State revenue projections are improving as Florida’s tourism, consumer spending and real estate sectors see continued gains.
Supporters of programs facing budget cuts this year are keeping their fingers crossed that next year’s budget may be a little bit better for them.
Here are some of the local programs Scott cut:
- $560,000 from the University of Miami Phd program in biomedical science
- $3.1 million form UM College of Medicine
- $89,574 University of Miami – Rosenstiel Marine Science
- $159,245 at the University of Mimai for the motion pictures program
- $ 244,011 for the Regional Diabetes Center at the University Of Miami
- $4.1 million for Nova Southeastern University for Osteopathic Medicine, Optometry, Pharmacy, and Nursing Programs and another $84.695 for that program’s rural and unmet needs
- $1,445,390 to provide nutritional information for Autism Centers
- $302,800 for Learn to Earn programs in schools
- $50,000 for educational programming at the Broward Education Communication Network for educational programming
- $500,000 for the Dan Marino project
- $250,000 to Camilus House
- $4 million for flood mitigation for the South Florida Water Management District
- $140000 for City of Hialeah stormwater restoration
- $100,000 for Miami river environmental enhancement
- $270,000 for the City of Hialeah to replace aging trucks
- $100,000 for docks and piers at Lummus Park on the Miami River
- $500,000 for the University of Miami for the Crohn’s Disease and Colitis Project
- $1.9 million for Nova Southeastern University’s medical school program for students to do medical and clinical rotations in under served areas of the state
- $250,000 for the construction of a pediatric cardiac hybrid catheterization lab/operating room at the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital
- $100,000 for the Autism Center of Miami
- $400,000 for brain and spinal research at the University of Miami
- $150,000 for ventilator dependent, medically fragile children in the Broward Children’s Center
- $200,000 for maintenance and repairs to the Here’s Help Residential Facility in Miami-Dade County
- $300,000 for the City of Miami Gardens
- $150,000 for the Little River Canal seawall remediation project in the Village of El Portal
- $150,000 City of West Park transportation improvements
- $243,000 for the town of Southwest Ranches
- $500,000 for the West End Bridge Crossing
- $250,000 for Goodwill Industries of South Florida
- $1 million for Broward County’s Workforce One to assist low-income youth from disadvantaged neighborhoods
- $5 million for the City of Miami to make infrastructure improvements within the Miami Design District
- $250,000 for the CAMACOL film project
- $100,000 for the Entrepreneurial Academy of the African American Chamber of Commerce
- $50,000 for the Greater Caribbean Chamber of Commerce
- $100,000 for the Historic Hampton House in Miami
- $150,000 for the Historical Log Cabin in he Village of Biscayne Park
- $500,000 for the Holocaust Education Center rail car
- $75,000 for the Haitian Heritage Museum Project
- $500,000 for the Bay of Pigs Museum