Florida’s $1.6 billion water savings program may be losing money, but it’s helping the state’s economy
Florida Governor Rick Scott announced Tuesday that his state’s $5 billion water program may have lost $1 billion in value because of the recession.
Scott, who has touted the water savings initiative as a boon for the state economy, said the state may have to start selling off some of its assets to get the money back.
The program, which Scott began in 2016, has reduced water use by about 10 percent in the state since he took office.
The announcement was the latest twist in a protracted battle between Scott and the Legislature, which has long accused the governor of failing to do enough to address Florida’s water crisis.
Scott has said that the money will be used to pay down the state debt, which he says has reached more than $2 billion.
But he has been under pressure to sell off assets he says are worth less than $1 million to offset the loss in revenue.
Scott said that his office has reached out to banks, credit card companies and other companies with large portfolios of water-related debt.
He said that Florida’s program, known as the Sunshine Water Savings Program, will continue to make savings to the state as long as its members pay their bills.
“This is the state of Florida,” Scott said Tuesday.
“I can’t afford to lose money.”
Scott’s announcement comes just weeks after he announced that the state would sell off more than 1,000 properties in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, including a $3.2 million home in the city’s North Beach.
Scott also announced that he would suspend water rates for customers who have paid their water bills in full since the beginning of the year.