Budget vetoes hit Central Florida hard

 Governor Rick Scott vetoed a record 461 million dollars worth of projects when he signed the 2015-2016 budget into law, including several in the Central Florida area. Orlando and Mayor Buddy Dyer did not get their biggest priority, $15 million set aside for the new UCF campus in downtown Orlando. The Mayor was not happy.

"That's probably the biggest catalyst project for downtown and our economic viability. We project 4 thousand jobs there so it is extremely disappointing."

UCF Spokesman Grant Heston tells us any and all options are on the table to get that campus.

"We knew it was an option so we are going to get ourselves together and figure out what the best way forward is..... We've got to find ways to create alternative funding sources, and we have to show the true value of what this brings, not just for UCF, but for all of Central Florida. When you think about students. When you think about jobs. When you think about the surrounding communities. UCF Downtown is a great project."

UCF was not the only one taking a blow. The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts was supposed to get 5 million dollars, but the Governor vetoed that spending. Spokesman Scott Bowman sent Fox 35 this statement:

"We will continue our fundraising efforts as planned. There is still strong momentum happening in our community with both new and existing donors to ensure that Phase 2 and the entire project gets completed. We are very
proud that more than $150 million has been raised in private donations to date."

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer felt bamboozled by the record vetoes, and says the Governor singled out Central Florida because of an ongoing battle between the Governor and Senate President Andy Gardiner over Medicaid expansion. Gardiner lost the battle, and Dyer says Orlando has to pay.

"Well lets be realistic about this. It's all about politics. So these were Andy's projects.... Just about everything that was important to the Senate President got vetoed."

We asked Governor Scott if petty politics were behind the veto?

"Absolutely not. If you look at the budget I went through it trying to find what was the best thing for our state. Look, I'm proud of what's going on in our state. 879,000 jobs in 4 years and 5 months."

Governor Scott told us the criteria for vetoes was simple. Does the spending have statewide impact?

"Can I get a good return on investment. Has it gone through a state process?"

Here are some other projects that were axed by the Governor:
$1.1 million for high-tech manufacturing training in Seminole County Schools
$175,000 for a surfing museum in New Smyrna Beach
$10 million for a high tech sensor school partnership between UCF and Osceola County
$2.5 million for a Space Research Institute at FIT in Brevard County
$750,000 for an entrepreneur program at Bethune Cookman University
$50,000 for a study on Pine Hills Road

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