Rep. Jason Shoaf filed more than $80 million in budget requests on Monday to allocate funds for projects within his North Florida district.
The largest request would fund beach restoration in Mexico Beach, a region devastated by Hurricane Michael in 2018.
Shoaf, who represents HB 7, noted the region’s ongoing battles including the Gulf oil spill, Hurricane Michael and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These communities need the support they deserve to rebuild and come back stronger than ever,” Shoaf said. “The residents and businesses of North Florida have proven resilient time and time again, but there are some projects that can’t be built with grit and determination. They require state funding. I’m working closely with my colleagues in the House and Senate to make the case for these projects to be funded.”
Shoaf’s second-largest request would provide $6 million to rebuild the Wakulla Emergency Operations Center.
Other notable requests include $1.5 million to construct a new Franklin County Emergency Operations and separate allocations for the Calhoun County Hospital, the Madison County Hospital and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
“Each of these projects that need funding provide public services that are essential to our region,” Shoaf said. “I know we have limited resources this year, and we must do more with less. But I’m going to fight for our region to get the support it deserves.”
Shoaf’s request comes as lawmakers prepare to triage Florida’s COVID-19 ravaged budget throughout the upcoming 2o21 Legislative Session.
While Gov. Ron DeSantis’ $96.6 billion spending plan is $4 billion higher than the current year’s budget, lawmakers have already expressed concerns about the proposal.
District 7 is a sprawling, largely rural district made up of Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf, Jefferson, Lafayette, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, Wakulla and part of Leon counties.
Parts of District 7, such as Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf and Liberty counties, sustained heavy damage during Hurricane Michael.
Shoaf vowed to make hurricane recovery a priority during his campaign.