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Gov. Rick Scott's proposed budget sets the tone for top-to-bottom cuts in 2011, from scaling back public pensions and education, to privatizing correctional facilities and merging a number of state departments.
From per-student budgets to how teachers are paid and retire, proposed changes to education could hit kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers the hardest.
Under Scott's plans for education funding, Treasure Coast districts would receive 8 to 10 percent less money per-student, and schools statewide would see at least $3.3 billion less from the state than this year.
The cuts could mean teacher layoffs and less educational opportunities for local students.
This year could see teachers, among other public employees, take a pay cut that would go toward their pension plan, and new hires would move in phases into 401(k) plans. Scott proposed a 5 percent contribution, though a pension plan in the Senate suggests lower contributions.
Paying teachers based on student performance is back in discussion through Senate Bill 736, which, in part, judges teachers based on student standardized test scores.
Scott's budget would lower corporate income tax from 5 to 3.3 percent by January 2012
County health departments might change shape in 2011 if plans go through to combine them with several other health offerings to form Public Health Services. The county departments would stand lose about $70 million in funding next year in Scott's budget.
Some mental health programs would also bear the brunt of cuts under Negron's Health and Human Services budget, and substance abuse programs would be drawn back significantly, Negron said.
"I'm not talking about a 5 or 10 percent, I'm talking about much more significant cuts in those areas.
Organizations that provide local "safety net" services — basic needs programs for the poor, elderly, youth and other at-risk groups — are feeling pressures of potential cuts from the state.Negron, chair of the Senate's Health and Human Services Appropriations subcommittee, has called for $1.5 billion in cuts from his committee's budget.
"Because of limited funding, it might create waiting lists for services, particularly those that affect folks with disabilities, the elderly or special populations," said Jim Vojcsik, United Way of Martin County executive director.