Lawmakers have tentatively agreed to finance flight for Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Sen. Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican, confirmed Thursday night that the Legislature is shaping up to spend $3.8 million on staff, maintenance and a plane for the executive branch.
Brandes is a lead negotiator for the justice silo of the budget. He and Rep. Clay Yarborough, a Jacksonville Republican, have proposed budgets that would appropriate the plane money to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for “executive aircraft purchase, debt service, operations and maintenance.”
“This is the third-largest state in the country,” Brandes said. “The Governor needs to be able to get around effectively and we think that this is right in line with where we should be and it meets the Governor’s request.”
The aircraft line item is unlikely to change during conferencing, expected to last until Friday.
It’s unclear whether DeSantis would use the money to purchase a plane outright or rent one. Brandes suggested it could be a “lease-purchase.”
The appropriation includes money for four full-time employees.
In 2011, then-Gov. Rick Scott directed the sale of two state planes in fulfillment of a campaign promise. Scott, now a U.S. Senator, had used his own private jet for travel during his gubernatorial tenure.
Since taking office, DeSantis has been involved in at least one emergency landing due to aircraft issues.