Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Budget dealing may mean $5 million for Sarasota rowing park

Legislative deal-making in Tallahassee on the next state budget may mean some "pork" for a high-profile project on the Manatee-Sarasota county line.

A grand deal between the House and the Senate reportedly includes $5 million for the rowing center at Nathan Benderson Park -- despite lawmakers having to cut as much as $4 billion from the budget because of expected revenue shortfalls.

Despite the lean times, lawmakers found room for various "local projects," including the rowing park, funding for which had been pushed by the Sentate's ranking member, Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton.

The "pork" or "turkey" -- it all depends on your appetite, we guess -- was included as part of negotiations with Gov. Rick Scott over his desire to include cuts in corporate income taxes as part of the budget. The money for the rowing center may end up being part of that compromise.

The Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau reports:

Gov. Rick Scott said he'll decide which spending projects to veto based on a simple question: "Is it going to get our economy going?" But don't be surprised if Scott, who has vowed to veto pork from the budget, pardons some of the so-called budget turkeys.
Scott said today that negotiations with the House and Senate over his corporate income tax cut included discussion about saving some lawmakers' spending projects. "Everything has come up," Scott said. But Scott wouldn't offer any examples. "I don't think that's in my best interest," he laughed.
There was lots of laughing from Scott this morning, who was in a particularly good mood after lawmakers put corporate tax relief into the budget allowing him to claim victory the cut as well as pension reform and creation of a new state agency for economic development. All three items are a much different shape than Scott wanted, but that was no matter.
"All along I planned on working with the Legislature to figure out how to do that," Scott said. "The things I cared about -- whether it was reducing the business tax, reducing the size of government, the cost of government, pension reform -- all of these things we're moving down the track.
"So, it's good."


  1. The rowing facility is going to be a major money-maker for the local economy and is certain to produce more jobs, so it fits the Governor's profile just perfectly. Mofre than 50 unoversities may take part ion coming events, and just one, for example, can create 200 room nights- and then there's shopping, restaurants, etc. I hope the governor sees the boon it will be for our local economy.

  2. The sport of rowing is good for Florida however giving five million tax dollars to a facility is absurd. This pork smells like a hog pen.