Gov. DeSantis won’t spare the bloodletting when vetting the new state budget

Gov. Ron DeSantis outlining state budget proposals for 2020-21 fiscal year in November 2019, in advance of the 2020 legislative session. Credit: Issac Morgan

Gov. Ron DeSantis intends to go all Walder Frey on the state budget this year.

With COVID-19 stalling much of the state’s economy and, consequently, state tax revenues, there’ll be vetoes aplenty before he signs the $93.2 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, the governor said during a news conference Tuesday.

“It’ll be a lot of red. It’s kind of the veto equivalent of the red wedding from Game of Thrones,” DeSantis said.

“There going to be things that are in my [proposed] budget that I’m definitely going to veto, just because the fiscal picture is different,” he said.

“I think we probably are hopefully are going to recover quicker than maybe we thought two months ago. But between the vetoes, and I’m going to hold back some agency spending, and then we have identified some CARES Act money that will be able to be used. I have no worry about us getting to the election.”

CARES is the federal aid package Congress passed in response to the economic shut-down forced by the COVID pandemic.

The governor demurred when asked during a news conference about the future of one of his signature initiatives: A $600 million plan to boost minimum teacher pay to $47,500. DeSantis included the item in the budget he submitted to the Florida Legislature.

“I say I’m going to veto some things in my budget. I’m not going to veto everything in my budget,” he said.

“We want to, obviously, try to deliver as many of the priorities as we can. It’s just a situation where I created a budget under certain assumptions and conditions, the Legislature did a budget under certain assumptions and conditions,” the governor said.

And then the scope of COVID became manifest.

“We’re living in a different reality. We’ve got to take that into account.”

Michael Moline
Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal. He began his career covering the Florida Capitol for United Press International. More recently, he wrote for Florida Politics.