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Governor Includes Indian River Lagoon In State Budget Proposal

An algae bloom at Central Marine in August 2016. Photo by Amy Green

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Gov. Rick Scott is calling for $60 million for the Indian River Lagoon and Caloosahatchee River in response to last summer’s toxic algae blooms.

Part of that money is aimed at moving residents from septic tanks to sewer systems in communities affected by the blooms, which prompted emergency declarations in four counties.

Other funding is dedicated to improving water quality by adding areas to store water north, east and west of Lake Okeechobee, the state’s largest lake.

The money is part of the governor’s more than $83 billion state budget proposal, unveiled Tuesday. The Legislature will take up the proposal when it meets in March.

The budget cuts taxes and boosts spending on schools, but Scott may have trouble convincing legislative leaders to go along with his plan.

The governor also wants $85 million in business incentives despite opposition by House Speaker Richard Corcoran. A defiant Scott said that people who oppose incentives don’t know how businesses run.

The governor’s budget boosts school spending and includes $58 million to recruit and retain teachers. But Scott wants to use a rise in local property values to help pay for it. House leaders have called that a tax increase.

WMFE environmental reporter Amy Green contributed to this report. 

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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s ... Read Full Bio »