The Florida Legislature recently passed the largest budget in state history totaling $112.1 billion and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is already hinting at vetoes to the record budget ahead of signing the appropriations.

Since DeSantis took office in January 2019, his vetoes have incrementally increased each year, culminating in $1.5 billion being slashed from 2021’s budget. However, DeSantis ensured the City of Hialeah Education Academy that it will be receiving $2.9 million from the state. DeSantis made the announcement for additional education STEM funding from the Hialeah school.

“All right, so I hereby approve $2.9 million right here,” DeSantis said. “So, that’ll be in there when we sign the budget.”

“We’re fortunate because our economy has been very strong,” DeSantis said. “We have booming revenues. And so, they’ve had an ability to put maybe more in the budget. And if it’s something that’s good, like (the Hialeah academy), I said I’ll approve it. There are some things that are probably going to be a bridge too far.”

Last year, when DeSantis set a personal record for the number of dollars vetoed, there were concerns about federal dollars being used to fill an emergency fund in the governor’s office. The vast majority of dollars vetoed were federal dollars for the fund.

Among the provisions in the budget includes funding for raising state worker pay, increasing teacher pay, a month-long gas tax holiday during the month of October, $400 million for broadband expansion, $1.47 billion for the Florida education system, and $10 million to revitalize the Florida State Guard.

Florida TaxWatch, a non-profit taxpayer research think tank, has yet to release its annual “Budget Turkeys” report.

“The Budget Turkey Report protects and enhances the integrity of the state’s budgeting system,” Tax Watch says. “Money appropriated by the Legislature belongs to the taxpayers of Florida, so the process must be transparent and accountable and every appropriation should receive deliberation and debate.”

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Ron DeSantis” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.