Gov. Rick Scott, in his proposed budget for next fiscal year, matched the $8.5 million that Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has requested to fight a disease causing massive problems in the citrus industry. The $8.5 million, included in a budget proposal Scott released Monday, would go toward stopping the spread of “citrus greening.” State lawmakers will craft a final budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year during the legislative session that begins in January.
Putnam, who has said “Florida’s citrus industry is in a fight for its life,” is asking lawmakers for $8.5 million to help fight the deadly disease as part of an $18.7 million request for the industry. Before the 2015 legislative session, Putnam, who grew up in the citrus and cattle industry in Polk County, asked the Florida Legislature for $18 million, which also was targeted for growing clean citrus stock and planting new trees where diseased trees had been removed. Lawmakers responded by giving him $8 million, which was an increase from the $4 million in 2014.