Bloomberg News

Scott’s $66.4 Billion Budget Would Boost State School Aid

December 12, 2011

(Updates with comments from Scott in fourth paragraph.)

Dec. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Florida Governor Rick Scott proposed a $66.4 billion budget for fiscal 2013 that would cut Medicaid and prison spending to boost state aid to public schools by about $1 billion.

The first-term Republican plans to trim outlays for Medicaid, the federal-state health-insurance program for the poor, by reducing rates paid to hospitals, limiting stays, instituting ceilings on payouts for some services and spending less on drugs.

Scott, 59, also proposed less money for corrections, driven by prison closings and a smaller inmate population. The measures will help close a $1.7 billion deficit for the fiscal year that begins July 1, he said.

“In order to fund education and ensure that our state is in a position to continue to create jobs,” Florida “must control these costs,” Scott, said at a press conference today in Tallahassee. “We have to make choices.”

Scott’s proposal is $2.9 billion less than this year’s, according to data posted on the state website.

Even with the extra education aid, funding for kindergarten through high school is set to be lower than this year, after Florida loses federal money, a situation that Scott called “frustrating” in an interview last week. The U.S. government will pay about $924 million less than last year, according to the governor’s proposed budget. The state will pick up an extra $792 million.

Florida has closed budget deficits of $17.8 billion since 2009, according to data from the Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

--Editors: Stacie Servetah, Mark Schoifet

To contact the reporter on this story: Simone Baribeau at simonebaribeau@gmail.com.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net


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