Gov. Rick Scott has identified more than $100 million of state college construction projects as possible cuts from the $69.7 billion budget that landed on his desk Tuesday, the Miami Herald has reported.
In the session that ended two weeks ago, legislators included $134 million in funding for projects that range from new buildings to road maintenance, however Scott says some of that funding may be on the chopping block. He said the added debt from the projects could hurt the state’s strong credit rating and make it harder for the state to borrow money in the future, according to reports.
“I’m clearly focused on the amount of debt the state has,” Scott told the Miami Herald. “I’m clearly focused on the debt rating.”
If Scott uses his line-item veto on that funding, it could be the second year in a row that Florida Gulf Coast University has been taunted with $5 million promised by the Legislature, but vetoed by a governor, for a $12.5 million off-campus renewable energy research center.
In all, the Legislature committed $11 million in funding to FGCU for the coming year, including another $4.5 million for the university’s health professions building, which is partially complete. The remainder of the funding is intended for upkeep of roads and other campus infrastructure like sewage and water systems.
The construction money comes from the Public Education Capital Outlay, or PECO fund, which is financed by utility taxes.