State Politics

Florida TaxWatch IDs 4 Manatee, Sarasota projects as budget 'turkeys'

Florida TaxWatch has identified four projects in Manatee and Sarasota counties as "turkeys" in the proposed state government budget.

Gov. Rick Scott should veto three of the projects, but the nonpartisan group stopped short of recommending he reject a proposed $5 million for a rowing center in Sarasota. Instead, the group said it and other economic development projects on its list need further review.

Scott vetoed money for the rowing center last year.

The three projects Florida TaxWatch said the governor should veto are:

-- $750,000 for the Manatee County Children's Stabilization Unit, which would provide in-patient mental health services to children. Tax Watch said the project should be vetoed because it was added during the Senate-House conference on the budget, and because it bypassed "competitive selection."

-- $1 million for the Loveland Center, to create a village for developmentally disabled residents. Tax Watch said the project bypassed competitive bidding. Scott vetoed the project from last year's budget.

-- $100,000 for Girls Incorporated of Sarasota, to help it recover from the $360,000 donated by convicted ponzi scheme Arthur Nadel and which a federal receiver is seeking to have repaid.

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