Reporting Tim Kephart
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Governor Rick Scott unveiled his spending priorities for the coming year Thursday with the release of his annual budget recommendations.
Overall, Governor Scott proposed a budget of $74.2 billion for the coming year, including a $1.25 billion increase in education.
Governor Scott has already announced some spending items, including a new plan to give every school teacher in the state a $2,500 raise this year. Scott’s fellow Republicans have expressed skepticism over the plan.
According to Scott’s office, the budget will represent a per student funding of roughly $6,800 which it said was an increase of more than $400. Scott’s office estimated the cost of the teacher pay raise at $480 million in 2013.
Scott’s first budget took the hatchet to education and the last two have slowly put the money initially cut back into the budget.
Scott’s budget is likely to include some spending cuts, including the elimination of state jobs.
The cost savings in the budget included “a net decrease of 3,647 jobs, or 3.1 percent, of the state’s workforce. Scott’s office said 663 of those jobs were vacant positions open for more than 180 days.
Scott’s budget recommendation said the state workforce had been cut by more than 7 percent since 2010. While the austerity measures have helped the state’s bottom line, it’s also driven unemployment in most parts of the state as private employment has slowly been moving forward, government jobs have been sharply cut.
Additionally, Scott is likely to call for more tax cuts, especially to businesses, the governor wants codified.
Specifically, Scott called on eliminating the sale tax on manufacturers who buy equipment, his office said Thursday.
Scott isn’t expected to announce whether he will accept federal aid to expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act.
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