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Gov. Rick Scott vetoes a $10 increase for Florida Wildflower license plate

2:31 PM, Jun 17, 2013   |    comments
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Some folks are struggling to understand why Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a bill that would have helped raise more money for the Florida Wildflower Foundation.

The foundation raises money with a specialty license plate costing an extra $15 a year.

The group awards grants to schools, garden clubs, cities and counties so they can plant native wildflowers and add some beauty to their areas.

The proposed legislation would have raised the plate's annual fee to $25. Gov. Scott said he didn't like the fee increase, so he vetoed the bill.

Lisa Roberts of the Florida Wildflower Foundation says she's "really stunned" by the veto because the specialty plate is voluntary. It only affects people who want to pay extra to support wildflower plantings and education.

Plus, Scott has approved other specialty plates this year charging a $25 fee. Members of the foundation wonder why he would approve some plates that charge $25 and reject the request from wildflower lovers.

Florida Wildflower Foundation spokesman Gary Henry said everyone in Florida benefits from wildflowers.

"It puts food on our table with all the pollinators. Not only do the pollinators benefit the native plants in Florida, they also benefit all the food that we eat, the corn, the tomatoes, all the squashes. It's increased the beauty in many areas and the driving experience of all the citizens of Florida. Plus, you look at the maintenance costs that currently occur in mowing right of ways from the edge of pavement all the way to the fence line. Here we can reduce that amount and just mow for safety up along the edge of pavement."

The wildflower license plate has raised about $3 million since it was established 13 years ago.

The proceeds have dropped in recent years so the Wildflower Foundation had hoped to counter that with the $25 price tag.

Members of the foundation are holding out hope that the governor might reconsider his veto and "undo" it. But that's not allowed.

The only way to override a veto in Florida is by a vote of two-thirds in the House and Senate.

Dave Heller

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