Editorial: Scott’s vetoes more about politics than priorities

Gov. Rick Scott listed these conditions for approving or vetoing a spending item in the state budget: “One, is it going to help our families get more jobs? Two, will it help improve our education system in our state? And three, will it help make government more efficient so we keep the cost of living low in our state?”

But if you consider two Palm Beach County projects, you realize that the governor cannot have meant what he said.

Gov. Scott vetoed $6.5 million for a Palm Beach State College campus in Loxahatchee Groves. Since the campus would offer retraining for adults and degrees for college-age students, it would help families get better jobs. Since the campus would be near Wellington and Palm Beach Central high schools, whose graduates go to PBSC at high rates, it would improve education. As for keeping the cost of living low, state college tuition is one of Florida’s bargains.

Then there’s the levee on the southeast edge of the Corbett Wildlife Management Area. Gov. Scott approved $4 million to rebuild the levee, which will not help families get more jobs, improve education or make government more efficient.

Don’t misunderstand. We favor the project. During Tropical Storm Isaac, the levee leaked, and water had to be drained from the Corbett. The inside of the levee is managed by a state agency, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The outside is managed by the Indian Trail Improvement District, which provides services to The Acreage. You can justify the $4 million. You also could justify Indian Trail assessing its residents.

A better explanation for the governor’s inconsistent vetoes is that he wanted to show tea party voters that, despite the record budget, he’s the same budget-cutter that he was in 2011. And he has a point with his veto of $1 million for Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw’s “violence prevention units” that the sheriff could start with his agency’s money and assess. Of course, the governor also got many emails critical of what some called a rat-out-your-neighbor plan.

Other vetoes, though, wiped out money for water and other projects that would serve poorer, rural communities where local resources might be tapped out. Still another cut $1 million in legal aid to the poor. In what the governor calls a “Families First” budget, those cuts will hurt families — just those less likely to vote.

Randy Schultz

for The Post Editorial Board

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