Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday vetoed a proposal to spend $600 million to construct and develop a new Moffitt campus in Pasco County.
“I do not support the provision of funding that would tie the state to a long-term, 30-year commitment that inhibits budget flexibility,” DeSantis wrote in a veto letter to Secretary of State Cord Byrd.
Senate President Wilton Simpson championed the funding for Moffitt to construct and develop on land in Pasco County.
DeSantis also eliminated from the budget $7.1 million from the Moffitt Cancer Partnership School.
In vetoing the funding, DeSantis noted the budget for state Fiscal Year 2022-23 directs an additional $37 million in cancer funding, bringing the state’s commitment to $100 million. The funding is directed to just three hospitals: Moffitt Cancer Center, University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and University of Florida Health Cancer Center.
DeSantis said in the veto letter that he pushed for the annual increase to enhance the state’s “competitiveness in cancer research and care at national and international levels to ensure that all Floridians have access to the highest quality of care.”
Senate Appropriations Chair Kelli Stargel told Florida Politics the large infusion of funding for Moffitt Cancer Center would pay dividends.
“We can help people who are suffering from cancer … we can help people struggling with mental health issues …. and you saw that through our entire budget,” Stargel said. “At the end of the day, when all the dust settles, we’re going to look back at this budget over the next few years and think we really focused on the priorities.”
The governor did not veto $106 million in infrastructure funds that was targeted to Moffitt.
Moffitt issued a statement thanking the governor and legislative leaders for the increased funds included in the budget that were approved,
“The state’s investment in Moffitt has helped make Florida a premier destination for cancer care and biomedical research. The new funding approved will help accelerate Moffitt’s expansion efforts in Pasco County to better serve more patients, increase our research and education efforts, create new jobs and make our vision to build a global destination to live, work and cure cancer a reality,” Moffitt said in a statement to Florida Politics.”