Gov. Scott announces $36M for Florida's disabled

Updated:

Loading

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - Gov. Rick Scott announced he's approved millions of dollars for programs that help people with disabilities.

That's a big change from a few years ago, when Scott slashed funding for those same programs.

Scott was greeted with a warm welcome Thursday at an assisted living village for disabled adults.

Scott was there to announce $36 million in increased funding for the agency for persons with disabilities.

"My goal is, each and every year, as our budget gets better, to give more and more for these individuals," said Scott.

But three years ago, some of those who were in the room on Thursday likely grumbled as Scott made good on campaign pledges and, in an effort to get Florida's budget under control, slashed funds to programs aimed to help the disabled.

Scott said the announcement is not a change in course.

"If you look at what I've done since I came to office, I've watched how we spend our money and spent it on things we need to do. We need to improve our K-12 education. We've got to continue to get more jobs so we can make smart, strategic investments," said Scott.

But political expert and college professor Rick Foglesong said he believes Scott is clearly moving to the political center now.

"I think that's hogwash. Indeed he's saying the change is not in his politics, rather that it's that the economy has improved. But the economy has not improved that much to justify this much of a change," said Foglesong.

And the change, Foglesong believes, is in anticipation of next year's gubernatorial race against his most likely opponent, Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist.

"He's become a politician, and that's not a bad thing. And what's changed, I think, is he wants to be re-elected," said Foglesong.

The funding the governor spoke about is expected to help about 700 families in Florida care for disabled loved ones.