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Scott quickly signs budget

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Rick Scott signed the state's $82 billion budget into law late Thursday, following an unusual announcement this week in which he declared he would approve the spending plan and outlined which individual lines he would veto.

He signed the budget plan shortly after legislative leaders sent it to him Thursday.

The spending plan, which covers the year that begins July 1, boosts spending on education to the highest level in state history, bankrolls more than $713.5 million worth of education construction projects and funds $151 million for restoration of the Everglades and an area lawmakers are calling the Northern Everglades.

In the past, Scott and other governors have waited until lawmakers sent the budget to them to announce their actions, but Scott did so Tuesday, four days after the 2016 legislative session ended.

The governor's office said Scott on Thursday followed the vetoes he had announced Tuesday, meaning he sliced a little more than $256.1 million in local projects and other spending initiatives. Scott made no additional comment.

In another usual move, the governor on Thursday transmitted the entire press release his office had issued Tuesday -- including almost 15 pages of talking points -- to the Secretary of State's Office to serve as the official announcement of the budget signing and list of vetoes.

Scott signed the budget despite getting little of what he wanted from the Legislature; lawmakers zeroed out his proposed $250 million in spending on business incentives and sharply reduced his call for a $1 billion tax cut.

Scott also signed four budget-related bills (HB 5003, 5005, 5007 and 5101) on Thursday.

The official approval of the budget marks the anticlimactic end to this year's debate over state spending, the first one after a contentious and bitter battle in 2015 that led to the Florida House walking out on the regular legislative session and a special session being called to finish the spending plan.