From Connecticut to Wisconsin to Florida, States Try Creative Ways to Balance Budgets


"I'm glad to be in Florida and not other states," said Patronis, who said he is eager to see how the Republican supermajority will work this session with a Republican governor, Rick Scott.

In February, Scott rejected $2.4 billion in federal stimulus money for a $2.7 billion high-speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando. He "angered Florida pols in both parties," according to an editorial in Time Magazine.

Patronis said as previous stimulus dollars have thinned, the lukewarm economy has put many states are in a budget crunch.

"We had federal dollars come in that helped us fix budget shortfalls," Patronis said. "As the other 49 states had fears, I know we had problems too. The reality sets in that if we don't take the money, somebody is going to get our share and we're going to have to pay for it as taxpayers."

He said some states became addicted to stimulus dollars and for many regions stimulus dollars were not the "savior" they thought it would be.

"Like an addict on drugs, we have to go through withdrawal to make tough decisions to constitutionally balance the budget," Patronis said. "We're hoping our economy bounces back. The economy has not rebounded as the way we wanted it too. Whether it's a Republican or Democrat solution, the taxpayers want some relief."

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