Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the 2022-23 state budget Thursday after slashing about $3.1 billion in spending through line-item vetoes.
The $109.9 billion budget still goes down as the largest in state history. It takes the crown from the current-year budget, which measured in at $101.5 billion.
The spending plan includes major substantial increases in most budget silos, including a $1.7 billion bump in K-12 education spending and funding to boost the minimum wage for state employees from $13 to $15 an hour.
The veto list is also a record-breaker, too, however. The amount of money excised by DeSantis this year more than doubles the $1.5 billion he vetoed when he signed the 2021-22 budget. The largest single item to get the red pen was a $1 billion fund meant to help state agencies cover cost increases due to inflation.
It’s still the “Year of the US&R” in Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis’ office.
The CFO and State Fire Marshal was joined by members of Florida Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) Task Force 6 in Ft. Myers on Thursday for a news conference urging Floridians to get prepped for hurricane season.
“As we begin the 2022 Hurricane Season, it’s my top priority to ensure Floridians have the tools and resources they need to prepare for the next storm before it takes aim at our state. Mother Nature loves paradise and unfortunately, it’s not if but when a storm will strike,” Patronis said, noting that forecasters predict an above-normal amount of activity this hurricane season.
US&R Task Force 6 Program Manager Shane Sibert added, “Hurricane season is here and it’s vital that our communities prepare now for what is predicted to be an active storm season. Just as we’ve seen with recent storms, they can develop and intensify fast. You must have your plan in place now because there will be little time to prepare once a storm is near. On behalf of US&R Task Force 6 I’d like to give a special thank you to CFO Patronis for everything he has done to support our lifesaving missions.”
Thursday marked Patronis’ second collaboration with a US&R team this week, following a Wednesday appearance with US&R Florida Task Force 2 in Miami.
The hurricane season tour also follows a string of stops earlier this year that saw Patronis encourage lawmakers to provide the state’s US&R teams a funding boost to improve training and equipment. The Legislature ultimately approved an additional $10 million for US&R teams in the 2022-23 budget, which the Governor signed this afternoon.
The Thursday stop also featured several other elected leaders, including Sen. Ray Rodrigues, Insurance Consumer Advocate Tasha Carter, Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson, Fort Myers Fire Chief Tracy McMillon and Lee County Commission Vice Chair Ray Sandelli.
Patronis and others at the event encouraged Floridians to visit PrepareFL.com for information on how to draw up a disaster plan. If a storm does strike, residents can call the Insurance Consumer Helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236) for help navigating the insurance claims process.
—“Gov. Ron DeSantis signs $109.9B budget, vetoes $3.1B” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics
—“Veto list: Plane plans grounded by Gov. DeSantis’ veto pen” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics
—“Veto list: Gov. DeSantis slashes $75M for USF Environmental and Oceanographic Sciences Facility” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics
—“How an abortion ban could change the lives of women in Florida” via Ian Hodgson and Christopher O’Donnell of the Tampa Bay Times
—“Records identify UCLA boss who called Ladapo unfit for Florida surgeon general” via Jeffrey Schweers of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel
—“By focusing only on ‘resilience,’ Florida’s Governor ignores climate change’s deadly heat” via Craig Pittman of the Florida Phoenix
—“Gay Days returns to Disney World amid ‘don’t say gay’ controversy” via Katie Rice of the Orlando Sentinel
—“Only a broken society would focus on the police failures in Uvalde” via David A. Graham of The Atlantic
—“Why did Gulfport Police take weeks to arrest Pinellas politician’s son?” via Tracey McManus of the Tampa Bay Times
—“Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams stepping down amid residency problem” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics
—“‘Unfair and inhumane.’ Opa-locka Hialeah market vendors desperate after eviction notice” via Veronica Egui Brito of the Miami Herald
—“Harvard has remains of 7,000 Native Americans and enslaved people, leaked report says” via Gillian Brockell of The Washington Post
Quote of the Day
“Despite the huge price tag, I don’t think most Floridians will feel like they’re getting their money’s worth from this nine-figure budget.”
— Democratic House Leader Evan Jenne on Gov. Ron DeSantis signing a record-breaking 2022-23 budget.
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