Plans to buy two new state airplanes crashed into Gov. Ron DeSantis’ veto pen Thursday.
While the Legislature this year budgeted $20 million for the Department of Emergency Services to purchase two Embraer Phenom 300E aircraft, the state’s existing fleet will have to do for now. The money landed in the budget only after extensive negotiations between the Senate, which from the start of the Legislative Session wanted the funds, and the House, which initially would not get on board.
But in the end, the high-priced items couldn’t make a connection with the Governor’s Office. DeSantis on Thursday signed a budget, but only after vetoing nearly $3 billion in expenses, including plans for the planes.
The state’s air inventory has loomed over state budget talks for more than a decade, since former Gov. Rick Scott in 2011 sold two state planes to curb abuse. Scott relied on a private plane to travel the state, a luxury of his personal wealth, but also a favored method that avoided any appearances of conflicts of interest of use of state vehicles for personal or political trips.
Following DeSantis’ election in 2018, the Governor initially used a plane obtained in drug seizures to travel. Though an emergency landing in 2019 led to no injuries, DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody and other occupants had to wear oxygen masks in a frightening episode.
After that, the state spent $15.5 million on a Cessna Citation Latitude the Governor uses now.
That plane will have to do, despite concerns the Governor and other members of the Cabinet have obligations throughout the state.
The two new planes would have held 11 occupants each, and could travel 500 miles per hour to make travel easier in a state that’s 792 miles from Panhandle edge to Southernmost Point by road. To travel more than 400 miles from Tallahassee to Miami takes more than eight hours traveling on asphalt but under 90 minutes by air.
June 3, 2022 at 8:17 am
I’m surprised that the Emperor DeSantis hasn’t ordered a 747 like Air Force One for himself. We could call it “Air Farce One”.
June 4, 2022 at 3:33 pm
This is nothing but theatrical window dressing. He barely trimmed the eyelash hairs of the budget. Tax n Spend DeSantis up to theatrics again!!
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