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State Lawmakers Question Governor’s Proposed Bonus for U. of Florida

State legislators in Florida are raising questions about a budget proposal from Gov. Rick Scott that would award an exclusive $15-million bonus to the University of Florida to help the institution ascend to the highest tier of public universities, according to The Miami Herald.

The money, included in the $74.2-billion budget the Republican governor proposed for the next fiscal year, would be used to hire new faculty members. J. Bernard Machen, who recently postponed his retirement and agreed to stay on as the university’s president, told the newspaper it was appropriate for the extra money to be directed to his university alone until other institutions proved they could compete on the same level.

State Sen. John E. Thrasher, a Florida State University alumnus, objected to the proposal at a committee meeting on Wednesday. Mr. Thrasher, a Republican, said that he assumed the governor would be willing to spend money on other institutions to help them move up the ranks as well. The committee’s chairman, a Stetson University alumnus, supported that request, saying the governor should give equal money to the University of Florida and Florida State.

Eric J. Barron, Florida State’s president, said he saw Mr. Scott’s offer as “an opportunity for Florida to keep Bernie in place” and added that it was “only natural” that Florida State should seek to be included. His own plan to move Florida State up the ranks calls for the same amount of money that has been offered to Florida.

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