Negron blasts TaxWatch ‘hackneyed’ turkey listby Dara Kam | May 24th, 2011
Sen. Joe Negron slammed Florida TaxWatch’s annual budget “turkey” list, calling it a “media gimmick” based on the “mistaken rationale that budget decisions originating from the executive branch come clothed with a presumption of correctness while ideas from the elected representatives of the people should be viewed with suspicion.”
TaxWatch released the list to help Gov. Rick Scott with his veto pen. Scott is expected to sign the budget and red-line items of his choice Thursday afternoon.
Negron, a Stuart Republican who chairs the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee and was once the House’s budget chief, called out TaxWatch staff for the manner in which they arrived at $203 million in pork.
TaxWatch’s turkey criteria include items – more than half the total turkey list – that landed in the budget during or after conferences where budget negotiators from the House and Senate resolve differences between their two spending plans. Many of the items that eventually wound their way into the budget that way had never previously been discussed or proposed by either chamber.
TaxWatch’s “added in conference” category is “a flimsy basis to disparage a budget expenditure,” Negron said in a statement.
“The conference process is a meaningful and significant component of the appropriations enterprise. Conference provides an open and transparent opportunity for the House and Senate to negotiate an agreed upon budget and to take a concluding look at the Appropriations Act to determine final priorities. Many proposed funding items are reduced or eliminated during this review process,” he wrote.