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Gov. Scott Signs State Budget, Vetoes $368 Million In Spending

Gage Skidmore

Governor Rick Scott signed the 2013-2014 state budget into law today after vetoing a 3 percent tuition increase for Florida colleges and universities, as well as over $368 million in lawmaker pet-projects.

Despite pushback from some lawmakers over the tuition issue, Scott said in his veto message that he believes "it is incumbent upon state leaders to ensure the cost of higher education remains accessible to as many Floridians as possible."

Among the $368 million in projects vetoed was the Arc Village, a planned community in Jacksonville that would offer affordable homes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Jacksonville's Learn2Earn program was also affected by the vetoes. Run by Mayor Alvin Brown's administration, the program works to promote post-secondary education by letting rising junior and senior high school students experience student life on a residential college campus for one week.

In a statement released today, Mayor Brown said he was "very disappointed by this veto of Learn2Earn. The Governor and his team have once again let down hundreds of Jacksonville children and families."

$500,000 to build a Nassau County Sheriff's Office administration building was also vetoed.

According to a report from the Tampa Bay Times, one of the largest items Scott vetoed was the $50 million Coast-to-Coast connector, a bike trail stretching from St. Petersburg to Titusville.

You can read about other local projects that were vetoed at the Florida Times-Union site, and more about what Gov. Scott is calling the "Florida Families First Budget" at the Tampa Bay Times site.

Sean Birch joined the WJCT team in late 2011 and was with the company until 2016.