Putnam: No savings in citrus merger

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida’s new agriculture commissioner says merging the Department of Citrus into his agency would not save money.

Gov. Rick Scott has discussed merging various state agencies to save money, but the citrus department operates on a budget that comes mostly from taxes paid by growers on every box of citrus harvested in Florida. The box tax provides 85 percent of the agency’s $60.2 million budget, with another 9 percent coming from federal funds and the remainder from interest and carry-over cash from earlier budgets.