(NSF) — Governor Ron DeSantis says the 112.1-billion-dollar budget approved by the Legislature on Monday may be too generous in areas, and those celebrating inclusion of their projects in the spending plan should refrain from celebrating too early. DeSantis says he expects to make cuts throughout the record budget for the fiscal year that will start July 1st.
Without getting specific, the governor has implied that House and Senate budget negotiators might have been a little too generous with the spending plan, which has not yet formally been sent to him.
“Of course, there will be vetoes in the budget. That’s just the nature of it. I think when they did the budget conference, they probably agreed to certain spending to get it through, knowing that the governor would come in and maybe save the day on some of this stuff.”
DeSantis’ vetoes have increased since he first took office in 2019, when he cut 131 million dollars from a budget totaling 91 billion. A year later, as a hedge against potential impacts to the state’s revenue and spending in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, DeSantis slashed one billion dollars from a 92-billion-dollar budget. Last year’s budget vetoes totaled 1.5 million dollars out of the 100-billion-dollar spending plan.
Agriculture Commission Nikki Fried this week touted lawmakers for approving 12 of 15 priority requests for the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, even if some of the funding won’t be available until her final days in office.
With Fried, a Democrat, running for governor, several spending provisions for her department carry a Jan. 1, date for the money to become available. Among the delayed funding is $300 million for the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program.
Fried initially told reporters that even with the delay, she’s “encouraged by what appears to be the state’s commitment to conservation of farmland and wildlife habitat.”
Among this year’s candidates for agriculture commissioner is Senate President Wilton Simpson, a Trilby Republican whose chamber pushed for the Rural and Family Lands money and the delayed implementation dates.
Fried’s department priorities that received funding were pay raises for Florida Forest Service firefighters and agriculture law-enforcement officers and investigators; $18.5 million for research and programs to combat citrus greening disease, which has devastated the citrus industry; and $1.7 million to expand the concealed-weapons licensing program.
Proposals not making the cut included an effort to phase out polystyrene products — such as Styrofoam cups, plates and to-go boxes.
(From The News Service of Florida)