Governor Rick Scott vetoes nearly $400 million from the state's new budget, including tuition hike

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Governor Rick Scott has vetoed nearly $400 million from the state's new budget, including a proposal that would have increased tuition at state colleges and universities by three percent.

On Monday, Scott signed the $74.1 billion budget into law.

"Tuition has gone up significantly the last five years. We have got to stop this," Scott said. "We have to focus on keeping the cost of higher education as low as we can and make sure these students get jobs."

The tuition hike was among the dozens of proposals Scott vetoed from the budget, including money for health care programs, supplemental programs for veterans and a multi-use trail that would have cut cross the state.

"Unlike the deficits and dysfunctions in Washington, today our Chief Executive signed a budget that lives within our means, meets the critical needs of the people of Florida, raises the salaries of state workers and effective teachers, pays down obligations instead of piling on more, puts aside money for a rainy day, and doesn't raise taxes by one dollar," Florida Senate President Don Gaetz said. "By contrast with the $141 billion budget of the State of New York, Florida's similar-sized population is supporting a government that costs about half as much and a state that is adding, no longer losing, jobs and population. 

This year marked the first time in years that legislators had a budget surplus to work with.

Scott Arceneaux, executive director of the Florida Democratic Party, said Scott had his priorities wrong.

"After doling out hundreds of millions in corporate giveaways, Scott vetoed $368 million in funding for much needed programs across the state. His vetoes include $2 million to assist veterans attending college, $3 million in abuse prevention education, and tens of millions in funding for Florida's schools and universities," Arceneaux said. "At a time when our state is coming out of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, investments in education, transportation, health and human services, and infrastructure are absolutely essential to communities across Florida ... Governor Scott imposed his rigid ideology on our state to the detriment of Florida's future."

The 2013-2014 fiscal year begins on July 1st.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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