Scott agrees with judge: Lawmakers should keep policy out of the budgetby Dara Kam | October 4th, 2011
Although he supports prison privatization and is committed to a broad expansion of it in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott said he disapproves of the legislature’s use of the state budget to establish policy – exactly how lawmakers ordered the privatization this spring.
“I should have the power to veto things that are major policy changes. I got elected as governor to mamke decisions on behalf of all the citizens of the state and to watch how all the money was spent. I ran a whole campaign on accountability,” Scott told reporters after Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.
Scott appeared to be siding with a Tallahassee judge who ruled last week that the legilsature’s inclusion of the prison privatization effort in the state budget was unconstitutional.
In her ruling against Scott’s administration last week, Tallahassee Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford wrote that, if the legislature wanted to expand the prison privatization, it “must do so by general law, rather than ‘using the hidden recesses of the General Appropriations Act.’”
Scott said he hasn’t decided yet whether to appeal Fulford’s ruling, but was confident the 18-county region privatization of 29 prisons ordered by lawmakers would eventually take place.
“We’re going to do prison privatization in the state as long as we save money. I believe that we’re going to save a lot of money,” he said. During his campaign for governor, Scott said he wanted to slash prison spending by $1 billion – about half of DOC’s total budget.
Still, Scott said he’d like it if lawmakers restrict the budget to spending matters.
“That would be nice,” he said.