When the Florida Legislature wrapped up its special session last Friday, some things survived the governor’s veto pen, but others didn’t. And that included cuts to the University of Florida/IFAS budget. According to Sydney Stone, legislative assistant for the University of Florida/IFAS Governmental Affairs, while the legislature did override some $60 million in cuts to higher education, it could not get IFAS included.
She noted that while the various efforts on Facebook, newsletters, industry action alerts, etc., helped to light up the phones and e-mails in the Capitol, IFAS knew it was a long shot, but was willing to take a shot. Stone said she wants to send out a big-huge thank you to all of you who supported IFAS during the special session. She also noted that IFAS leadership will be looking at all avenues to try to mitigate the impacts.
According to the News Service of Florida, in a final-day deal, the Florida Legislature did agree to resurrect $60 million in higher-education projects that had been vetoed by Gov. Rick Scott. But the 17 state university, state college, and private college projects were mostly building projects tucked into an economic-development bill (HB 1A).
And while the governor still retains the ability to remove individual projects from the bill with his veto power, the higher-education projects were part of a deal that also gave Scott $50 million for repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee.
So basically Gov. Scott received what he called for during the session: more dollars for public education, economic development, tourism marketing and for repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee.
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