JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- Florida's Gov. Rick Scott is known for being a budget hawk, but we're learning his policies are costing taxpayers nearly $1 million in legal fees.
The number went up just last week when a federal court ruled Florida has to pay $190,000 in attorney fees to fight the drug testing of state workers. That's just one example, keeping the legal meter running.
Gov. Scott is rounding out his second full year in office, but in that two years, Action News has learned he's cost you upward of $1 million. It's all legal fees from controversial legislation.
Teachers were outspoken when Gov. Scott wanted to drastically alter the way they are paid. The union filed a lawsuit. One of the biggest legal battles is drug testing for those on welfare. Scott praised the idea in 2011. "It's the right thing to do, so I'm very excited about doing it because it's good for the taxpayers of the state."
While it was eventually declared unconstitutional, all this legal back and forth is drawing criticism. "It's just not good use of our money," said Joey McKinnon is with the Jacksonville Young Democrats. "I think it's disappointing Gov. Scott has chosen to spend money to defend his agenda," said McKinnon.
While the legal battle is far from over, McKinnon thinks this will weigh heavily on voters' decision come 2014. "There comes a point where we have diminishing returns. An example of this is the drug testing. While it could have benefits, most think it's ridiculous and not a good use of our money," said McKinnon. "I think taxpayers want Gov. Scott to focus on the real problems, like improving schools and getting jobs."
We reached out to the governor for comment on this legal spending, but we have not heard back from him yet. Many of these lawsuits filed are still working through the court system, so that number could go even higher.