Not every lawmaker got the projects they wanted through the budget process and past Gov. Ron DeSantis’ veto pen. But beginning Monday, lawmakers this summer will be able to leverage federal dollars to fund local needs that sprung up late in the budget cycle.
Within the budget DeSantis approved earlier this month, the Legislature approved a Local Support Grants Program, effectively extending the appropriations project request period into the summer months. In a memo to House members on Monday, Speaker Chris Sprowls briefed members on how they can seek funding for the initiatives of local governments, education entities and privately operated programs in their districts.
“Because of our early Session, I know that there are many worthy issues in your districts and mine that might not have been considered due to the timing of Session,” Sprowls wrote in the memo. “This program will enable us to recognize and consider grants to entities that are so important in the communities we represent.”
Lawmakers will pay for the projects with $175 million in federal stimulus cash received through the Federal Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund, made available by President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress.
Legislative Budget Commission Chairs Sen. Kelli Stargel and Rep. Jay Trumbull recommended that Local Support Grant requests follow a similar process to the Appropriations Project Request process in order to maintain transparency.
Lawmakers must submit request forms electronically by July 15. Appropriations Committee staff will return those forms to lawmakers, who must then publish their final forms by Aug. 10.
Organizations and entities that would receive the funds must also submit attestation forms by Aug. 10.
The Legislative Budget Commission is a panel composed of Senate and House members to approve spending requests and amendments in the time between Legislative Sessions.
At publication time, no lawmaker had yet submitted a grant request.
On top of the $175 million for local projects, Local Support Grants include $30 million for first responder bonuses.
From the $112.1 billion budget lawmakers passed in March, DeSantis vetoed $3.1 billion, leaving $109.9 billion for the 2022-23 fiscal year. Local Support Grants come in addition to the $109.9 billion total.