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Florida cuts funding to epilepsy groups

12 February, 2001

Over $2 million of state funding has been withdrawn from epilepsy support groups across the state of Florida, reports Jacksonville.com.

Governor Jeb Bush released his proposed budget at the end of January and has withdrawn in total nearly $60 million of funding for a wide range of groups dealing with areas as wide ranging as drug dependency and family planning for low-income women.

Rich Hatfield, executive director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeast Florida commented:

"We got hit with this about two weeks ago. Up until that point in time, we didn't have any clue this was coming down."

A spokeswoman for Governor Bush said:

"The Governor would support restoring money for some of the programs if they can show they are justified. These are taxpayer dollars, and we just want to make sure they are being spent responsibly"

Bush is faced with an economic slowdown in the state and an addition $1 billion in Medicaid payments. In previous years the Governor has cut back on 'local' projects, arguing that tax dollars would be better spent on state-wide needs, but this year's proposed budget has gone further, looking to eliminate money for long standing projects. Bush questions whether many of these projects have been scruitised enough in the past.