Tuesday Apr 24, 201212:46 AM GMT
Republican Governor cuts funding for rape crisis centers
Tue Apr 24, 2012 12:45AM
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Gov. Rick Scott

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) shocked the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence this week when he vetoed $1.5 million in funding for 30 rape crisis centers in the middle of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. State lawmakers allotted the money to offset an increase in need and a lack of sufficient funding for victim services.

 

A spokesperson for Scott said he vetoed that particular line item in the state budget because the state already funds sexual violence programs, and nobody was able to make it clear to him why rape crisis centers needed the new funding.

 

As for a $6.5 million that Scott says the government provides for rape prevention and sexual assault services, a large percentage of that money is distributed to education programs, not actual crisis centers serving the victims.

 

From a political standpoint, Scott's cuts to sexual violence funding could not have come at a worse time, as Republicans in Congress are taking heat for opposing the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. But Scott's spokesman said the governor's decision had nothing to do with the oft-cited GOP "war on women."

 

"Anyone who’s trying to say this veto is evidence of a war on women, is deliberately trying to mislead the public for political ends," Wright said. Huffington Post

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

The cut to the Florida Council was just one of the many health projects that Scott used his line-item veto power to eliminate from this year’s $70 billion budget.

 

Jennifer Dritt, the executive director of the Florida Council, says she is “stunned” the funding was cut. She says the line-item was “new money” meant to ease the reduction in collections that rape crisis centers are facing.

 

According to her, “1.2 million women in Florida already have been victimized” and the funding would have helped the centers “double” the number of services they offer and the number of victims they serve.

 

Scott has said publicly that he stands by his vetoes because he believes the programs he eliminated “weren’t a good use of taxpayers’ money and did not serve a statewide need.” He has also said he “gave each project equal and fair consideration.” The Florida Independent

 

KA/KA

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