Since the 1980s, Florida TaxWatch has reviewed the annual Florida legislative budget and published a list of “turkeys” that the governor should veto. Turkeys are self-serving line items in the budget that help a legislator acquire more votes or more donations in his/her next election campaign. According to The Tampa Tribune, Florida TaxWatch identified 43 turkeys worth about $36.5 million in the 1995 budget proposal.
As Lawton Chiles was in office from 1991 through 1998, this cartoon probably represents the budget cutting authority during his governorship. Florida TaxWatch identified a minimum of zero turkeys for Chiles’ veto in 1991 and 1992 to a high of 380 turkeys, worth $266.4 million, in 1998.
Packwood suggests that Chiles will kill the turkeys as the legislators bring them to him one by one. Through the mouse in the embedded panel, he also suggests that a line-item veto would be a good tool for the U.S. President to have in order to control federal spending.
During 1995, the U.S. Congress talked of abolishing a national welfare program and replacing it with block grants for states to run their own welfare programs. Chiles opposed the program because of the disadvantage to Florida. According to the Tampa Tribune, Chiles said such a program “would kill us in Florida,” where people needing welfare services continued to stream in from other areas of the country. Depending on the final formula, Florida could lose billions of dollars, while slower growth states such as Illinois and Wisconsin--where Republican governors were pressing the plan--would actually gain. At odds with his own party on this issue, Chiles also referred to the program as “draconian.”