Legislators begin to grapple with Gov. DeSantis’ third budget
Ron DeSantis gets kudos for his commitment to affordable housing.

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Big spending proposal forces choices for budget committees.

Gov. Ron DeSantis rolled out his third and by far most ambitious budget last week, and legislative panels will begin a preliminary review this week.

The Senate Appropriations Committee will hear a presentation about the proposed $96.6 billion budget on Tuesday morning. The House Appropriations Committee takes up the document the following day. Subcommittee review will follow from there.

The proposed spending plan is more than $4 billion higher than the current year’s budget, with $2.6 billion of the overage driven by response to COVID-19.

But other ambitious proposals, including a whopping $423 million for affordable housing, are also in play.

Expect the months between now and the end of the Legislative Session this May to be animated by negotiations between the Republicans that control the Governor’s Mansion, the House, and the Senate.

Upon the release of the budget proposal, tempered “appreciation” came forth in a statement from the office of Senate President Wilton Simpson.

“It has been a very difficult year and there have been many changes since the last time we were at this point in the budget process, so the President certainly has great respect and appreciation for the tremendous amount of work and the many difficult decisions went in to preparing these recommendations,” said Simpson’s spokesperson, Katie Betta.

Work and difficult decisions aside, expect a critical eye from the Senate Appropriations Committee, with Chairperson Sen. Kelli Stargel messaging about a conservative budget last month before the Governor’s proposal was released.

Regarding big spending, she said, “[a]ll that means is that some future Legislature gets to come in and really backfill and fix things that may have happened in the past where we’ve had to cut things.”

The House, meanwhile, has held back from any comprehensive pronouncements on the budget yet. House Speaker Chris Sprowls said he hadn’t had a chance to review it when asked by reporters last week.

Both the House and the Senate will ultimately pass their own budgets, leading to a protracted period of negotiation that, usually some days after the previously scheduled Sine Die of the Session, results in a final state budget agreed on by the House and the Senate.

The Governor then has recourse to line item vetoes of appropriations projects. Last year, with the impact of coronavirus and mitigation measures, he vetoed more than $1 billion dollars in budget projects.

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Florida Politics’ Tallahassee correspondent Renzo Downey contributed to this post.

Staff Reports


One comment

  • Sonja Fitch

    February 1, 2021 at 6:46 am

    Blah blah. We are in a pandemic! Florida is a service economy! Revenue is a roller coaster! Who is going to be the leader of a good and decent bipartisan budget? It sure ain’t Duffus Desantis. Duffus Desantis is a racist with no give for the common good. Publix heiress ,not an employee the damn owner, will gladly donate! Lol

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