DeSantis goes easy on lawmakers with his first budget vetoes

State Capitol
The Historic Capitol, foreground, and Florida Capitol buildings. Photo Colin Hackley

Vetoing $131 million in spending, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed his first state budget on Friday, trimming the Legislature’s spending plan to just under $91 billion.

The budget, which takes effect July 1, will boost school spending by $242 per student in the 2019-20 academic year.

It includes more than $625 million in environmental initiatives, including funds for the restoration of the Everglades-Lake Okeechobee system and money for cleaning up natural springs.

It has more than $400 million in tax cuts, including reducing the property tax rate for schools to offset increases in property values.

“I think it’s a fiscally responsible budget. I think we put taxpayers first. But I think the key issues that Floridians care about, things like the environment, things like education, things like transportation, we were there to really make a difference,” the Republican governor said.

Here are more details on the budget.

Asked why he used a relatively light veto touch on the appropriations bill, DeSantis said because of the cooperation with Republican legislative leaders who supported most of the governor’s major initiatives, he saw no need for “retribution.”

“I got more in the budget than most first-year governors,” DeSantis said.

Describing his guidelines for eliminating spending with his line-item veto power, DeSantis said he rejected projects that shouldn’t be funded by government or were local responsibilities or were attempts to fund items outside an established process for directing state spending.

Here is a complete list of the governor’s vetoes.

His philosophy was similar to the guidelines used by TaxWatch, a business-oriented nonpartisan group, that had recommended $133 million in vetoes in its analysis of the new budget.

The Florida Phoenix looked at some notable hometown projects – and how legislators worked to get them passed in the state budget in this report.

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