Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed a bill Tuesday that would’ve created a rainy-day fund for the Governor to use during hurricanes and other states of emergencies.
The proposal (SB 1892), sponsored by Republican Sen. Manny Diaz, aimed to create the $1 billion fund with federal relief dollars. However, new federal guidance surrounding the use of American Rescue Plan dollars derailed the plan.
Under the updated guidance, states cannot use the money to meet future needs.
“We were going to run into the risk of having the feds come after us for it,” DeSantis said earlier this week when he slashed funding for the bill out of the budget.
Throughout Session, Republicans contended the emergency fund would allow the Governor to respond more swiftly to disasters. Alternatively, some Democrats feared the proposal would likely become a slush fund.
Notably, the rainy-day fund isn’t the only proposal scuttled by the new guidance.
DeSantis also slashed $350 million out of the budget that lawmakers hoped to use as a budget stabilization fund.
“I couldn’t in good conscience put that money in there knowing that it was not going to be able to be used for that, and if we did, it was going to be going to be clawed back by the federal government,” DeSantis said.
According to the latest federal guidance, states must utilize the money before 2024.
Notably, DeSantis suggested lawmakers may pursue other avenues to create the rainy-day fund.
“I couldn’t in good conscience put that money in there knowing that it was not going to be able to be used for that, and if we did, it was going to be going to be clawed back by the federal government,” the Republican Governor said.
DeSantis signed the FY 2021-2022 budget, coined Florida Leads, Wednesday.
The budget totaled $101.5 billion after the Governor vetoed $1.5 billion in total spending, including $1.35 billion from federal funds received under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.