Published: May 27, 2011 2:39 AM EDT
Updated: May 26, 2011 6:46 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Gov. Rick Scott signed a new Florida budget but vetoed a record $615 million after lawmakers previously chopped nearly $4 billion.

The Republican governor went to The Villages, a central Florida retirement community and GOP stronghold, on Thursday to sign the $69 billion budget in front of a friendly crowd.

Sheriff's deputies escorted protesters from what a GOP staffer said was a private event.

Scott's office called the spending plan a "historic jobs budget."

Democrats and other critics called it a job-killing budget.

It eliminates about 4,500 state positions, most of them filled. School districts expect to lay off thousands more due to spending cuts.

Scott proposed deeper education funding cuts than lawmakers approved, but he said the vetoed money should go to schools.

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