Gov. Scott tells 10 News Investigators ''no'' to USF cuts | News
TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- The 10 News Investigators tracked down Gov. Rick Scott Thursday morning to deliver letters from Tampa Bay residents and see if he would commit to rejecting the proposed USF budget cuts.
Many felt the disproportionate 58% cut to USF's budget was political retaliation from State Sen. JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, who has battled USF President Judy Genshaft over control of USF-Polytechnic in Lakeland.
"I don't believe that any university should be harmed for the help of another university," Gov. Scott said of the proposed cuts to USF.
Scott also indicated he wouldn't support Alexander's effort to force an immediate Polytechnic separation from USF. The state's Board of Governors set out a methodical three-to-five-year plan for independence.
"We have a process, and the Board of Governors have set up a process to work through the Poly-Tech issue. I believe that's a process we should continue to go through. That's my goal, to go through that process...but I'll continue to look at the budget.
"The other thing I want to make sure is that if we're going to have a 12th university, that we can afford a 12th university," Scott added, echoing many House leaders' warnings about the strain an independent Polytechnic could put on the state budget.
Several steps still remain in the budget process before the Governor has his say. The Senate will debate its proposed budget for several days next week before their final proposal goes to budget committee.
Senate and House leaders will then negotiate a compromise budget, which - if all goes smoothly - will be voted on by each chamber before the March 9 end of session. However, if both chambers don't approve the compromised budget or the Governor rejects it, a special session will be required.
Previous USF Coverage:
2/15/12 - Budget cuts live, but ''divorce settlement'' brokered
2/14/12 - USF Students depart overnight to protest budget cuts
2/14/12 - 10 News leading charge to #SaveUSF
2/14/12 - High school students impacted by USF attacks
2/14/12 - USF fears "devastating" 58% budget cuts
2/8/12 - JD Alexander pushes "backdoor" path for USF Poly independence
12/22/11 - Barbs traded over Genshaft's handling of USF Poly handling
12/20/11 - Genshaft dismisses USF Poly chancellor
11/10/11 - BOG grants USF Poly conditional independence
11/7/11 - USF Poly spends thousands on Star Wars statues
11/3/11 - JD Alexander's bully pulpit
10/31/11 - Polk leaders vote for USF Poly independence