Gov. Scott gets budget; veto clock is ticking

From the Tampa Bay Times:

The clock starts today for Gov. Rick Scott who has 15 days to decide whether to sign an $82.4 billion state budget — and just how much of it he wants to veto.

Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, on Wednesday is sending the budget bill (SB 2500) to Scott, who faces a June 15 deadline to act on it. And speculation is running wild in Tallahassee that the governor could send much of the budget right back to the Legislature.

After Scott’s favored projects, economic incentive agency Enterprise Florida and tourism marketer Visit Florida, were gutted in the budget, the governor has been critical of the spending plan passed by his fellow Republicans in the Legislature.

“I have the opportunity to either veto the entire budget or veto parts of the budget or veto a line item,” he said last week.

It’s a basic fact. But it’s also a reminder to legislative leaders that in his frustration, Scott could veto an entire section of the budget — for example, the $23.7 billion K-12 education budget — as well as sweeping policy bills that were pushed through the secretive budget process.

Those bills, including a controversial schools bill (HB 7069) that has drawn outrage from parents and school boards, have not yet been sent to Scott, though they are expected to be later this week.

At the very least, Scott will use his veto pen to scratch out projects he doesn’t agree with. In six years as governor, Scott has vetoed $1.9 billion in spending.

If Scott were to veto a section of the budget, it would require lawmakers to come back in a special session this month to resolvew the disagreement. Or, if they had enough buy-in from Democrats, they could override Scott’s veto. That would take a two-thirds vote of both the House and Senate. Times/Herald staff writer Kristen M. Clark contributed to this report.

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