Gov. Rick Scott’s spending priorities for 2018 continue to take shape as he enters his final year in office with a major statewide election on the horizon.
The Republican governor wants the Legislature to increase spending on environmental programs by more than $220 million next year. Scott planned a visit to the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples for the announcement.
Scott wants to spend $50 million on Florida Forever, a popular land preservation program that conservationists have said has received too little money in recent years. He wants nearly $40 million more for state parks, a $36 million uptick in beach restoration programs to $100 million, and $55 million for springs restoration.
Scott’s record on the environment has been controversial on issues ranging from climate change to offshore oil drilling. Early in his tenure, he called for major budget cuts to the state’s five regional water management districts, and in non-election years he called for budget reductions in the Department of Environmental Protection.