Among four bills the Florida Tea Party Network recommended Governor Rick Scott veto was one which would immediately make Florida Polytechnic an independent institution. From Kenric Ward of Sunshine State News:
Blasting the creation of a separate Polytechnic University in Lakeland, divorced from the University of South Florida, the tea party group said, “Our higher education schools are already under funding pressures, and splitting the pot further is counterproductive to the quality of the institutions.
“Further, private universities are filling the marketplace to service student needs, and we should encourage private-sector growth.”
This call for a veto SB 1944 from the state’s most influential tea party entity represents significant political cover for Scott. I speculated on March 13 that Scott may have been signaling that he’s looking to veto the bill. This from the Tampa Bay Times Kim Wilmath:
Scott’s office tells us that more than 130 e-mails about SB 1994 have come in over the past few weeks — and not one is in favor of it.
The bill was pushed through this legislative session by Senate budget chairman JD Alexander. It short-cuts a plan already laid out by the Florida Board of Governors to allow USF Poly to become independent only after meeting a number of benchmarks, like a minimum enrollment and accreditation.
At the time I made the point that it was revealing that its was Scott’s office which volunteered this information. A veto recommendation by the Florida Tea Party Network not only gives Scott political cover, it also represents political pressure.