TAMPA - Florida TaxWatch has released their annual "Turkey List,” and on it are big dollar projects passed by the Florida lawmakers outside of the regular budgetary process.
But do all the programs being called “turkeys” deserve to be?
A case in point is Tampa's Family Justice Center, which helps the victims of domestic violence.
For thousands of Tampa families, the Family Justice Center is the difference between life and death. "We have served 8,000 families. We serve victims of domestic violence who have nowhere else to go and we are able to help people stay alive and stay safe," says Executive Director Nikki Daniels.
But the Center is being lumped together with 105 other so-called "turkeys" in the budget recently approved by the Florida Legislature and awaiting the signature of Governor Rick Scott.
Some of the other "turkeys" include $5 million for the International Regatta Sports Center at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota.
The Executive Director of the Family Justice Center, Nikki Daniels, says there is a huge distinction.
"It's $100,000, which for us is about 10 percent of our budget. What it would be used for is operations of our programs to be able to continue to service victims of domestic violence during this time when other sources of funding are being cut," Daniels says.
A spokesman for Florida Tax Watch tells us programs like the Family Justice Center are on the "turkey" list not because they shouldn't be funded but rather because how they were funded as so called "earmarks" inserted by legislators at the last minute.
"We are not saying these projects are bad projects, and don't do what they say they do. Or that they are wastes of money. What we are saying is they didn't go through the thoughtful legislative budgeting process," says Kurt Wenner of Florida Tax Watch.
Florida Tax Watch describes itself as non-profit and non-partisan. It is backed by Florida businesses.
More: See the entire turkey list
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