Senate Appropriations Chairman Tom Lee, R-Brandon, who co-wrote the new $82.3 billion budget, predicts that Gov. Rick Scott could veto as much as $500 million in line-item spending.
"If I was a guessing man, I'd predict $500 million," Lee said.
That would be a new state record, exceeding the $461.4 million that Scott vetoed last year in the current budget.
Lee said the new budget, like the last one, is filled with hometown projects that could be irresistible veto targets, and he chuckled at how Senate staff members refer to them as "local funding initiatives."
"That sounds so much better than pork," Lee said. "There's a lot of local funding initiatives that really don't have a direct nexus to state government. I would suspect there's plenty of low-hanging fruit in there for him to pick off."
Here's what the lobbyists are saying: As Scott sharpens his veto knife, he will begin by taking aim at the projects championed by the 28 House Republicans who opposed a bill (HB 1325) creating a framework for spending the money Enterprise Florida did not receive.
A lot of important names are on that list: Reps. Richard Corcoran, Matt Hudson, Blaise Ingoglia, Debbie Mayfield, Jose Oliva, Chris Sprowls, Greg Steube and Carlos Trujillo, to name a few.