Big Bend universities and projects netted more than $55 million in the “sprinkle lists” released by House and Senate Wednesday.
The sprinkle list is what Capitol insiders call the last-minute budget items used to sweeten the pot and provide funding for some pet projects. Each year, legislative leaders withhold some money from the budgeting process until the end, which can be used to benefit legislators’ hometown projects to help get the budget deal done.
All totaled, the Senate had $511.8 million to sprinkle on projects and programs around the state beyond what is included in the 2022 state budget. The House’s sprinkle list totaled $248.3 million.
The biggest allocation to the Big Bend was $27.7 million to Florida A&M University for campus-wide utility infrastructure improvements. Florida State University is getting $20 million earmarked for operational enhancement. FSU also collected a big sprinkle allocation last year when it received more than $18.4 million toward the construction of its Interdisciplinary Research Commercialization Building.
Outside of the area’s universities, Gadsden County Emergency Operations Center and Public Safety Complex is receiving $7 million. The funding amount is a far cry from the $33.6 million in recurring annual funds from the general fund that was requested by Gadsden Rep. Ramon Alexander in HB 4397, which failed to be taken up in any committee.
Connecting Everyone with Second Chances (CESC Inc.) received $750,000. The nonprofit organization runs the Kearney Center, which provides emergency and immediate services to those experiencing homelessness in Leon County. The center offers a free shelter and an onsite medical clinic, while providing support services like GED classes, prayer groups and workforce training.
The Neighborhood Medical Center Maternal & Pediatric Health Clinic, a federally qualified health center (FQHC) located in Tallahassee, received $375,000. A FQHC is a community-based health care provider that receives funds from the HRSA Health Center Program to provide primary care services in underserved areas. FQHC’s must meet a stringent set of requirements, including providing care on a sliding fee scale based on ability to pay and operating under a governing board that includes patients.
Like all budget line-items, the allocations can still possibly be vetoed by Gov. Ron DeSantis once the 2022 budget hits his desk.
The 2022-23 sprinkle list is more than double the size of the 2021-22 list, which totaled $347.7 million.
This year, the Senate outlined spending for 161 projects worth a total of $511.8 million, $135.6 million of which is recurring funds. Meanwhile, the House funded 62 projects worth $248.3 million, $89.7 million of which is recurring.
Last updated on March 9, 2022