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Gov. Scott budget: No added funding for mental health

12:40 AM, Feb 2, 2013   |    comments
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Clearwater, Florida - Mental health experts complain that Governor Rick Scott's plan for the largest budget in Florida history is seriously lacking in one important area.

"Without additional funding, doing more and serving more people becomes virtually impossible," said April Lott.

The CEO of Directions for Living in Clearwater, which caters to people with mental disabilities, is concerned that the plan spends no more money on mental health services in Florida.

The program has received $1.3 billion a year, but Lott says the program has seen its share of cuts in the past and the current dollar figure does not keep pace with demand.

"What I always like to say to people is that you do less with less. There really is no magic to be able to do more with less."

The debate over mental health has peaked in recent weeks since mass shootings, such as the one in Newtown, CT. that left 20 elementary students dead by a gunman with reported mental health issues.

At least one Bay Area lawmaker took issue with the governor's plan to not include more money for mental health programs across the state. 

"[I am] disappointed that the governor did not address this issue by adding additional dollars into his budget," said Fasano during an interview with 10 News. "This is something we should be focusing on."

Fasano feels that when the budget is presented to the legislator, the heads of both the house and the senate will request additional funding for mental health before passing it.

10 News reached out to the governor's office to ask why there was no addition funding mental health in his new budget, but we did not hear back by news time.

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