Zero dollar budget? Fancy accounting, governor!by Dara Kam | February 10th, 2011
The House Budget Committee drilled down into Gov. Rick Scott’s first-ever budget proposal this afternoon, prompting the same speculation lawmakers have expressed since Scott rolled it out on Monday.
Rep. Bill Proctor, a St. Augustine Republican and former head of Flagler College, questioned Scott’s backing $1.7 billion out of the state budget university tuition and fees and fees collected by clerks of courts. Scott’s accounting method allowed him to claim he cut $4.62 billion from the state budget; Scott’s budget director Jerry McDaniel conceded yesterday the real number was closer to $3 billion.
“We all know that those monies will be collected by state agencies and expended for state services,” Proctor lectured McDaniel. “If we follow that logic, we could perhaps pull some more state agencies off the books…and drop our budget down to possibly $60 billion. Am I correct?”
McDaniel agreed: “You could. You could pull more things off and not show it…In theory you could pull every state agency off the books and capture the costs in some other way and show a $0 state budget.”