Gov. Ron DeSantis visited familiar themes in remarks Tuesday in front of the American Legion Boys State program, and among them was the flexibility created by the line-item budget veto.
“You guys are doing this government in terms of crafting your own. I would just say that when you’re looking at different authorities to give the executive, giving a line-item veto is something that I would recommend,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis, who has vetoed more money out of budgets than any previous Governor, contended the line-item veto is central to good government and reining in the free-spending ways of legislatures.
The Governor enthused about the flexibility afforded him by the line-item, saying that “there’s individual line items that you can cancel out” because of it.
This year, he vetoed $3.1 billion in spending, leaving $109.9 billion in place. He’d referred to a previous year’s vetoes, meanwhile, as the equivalent of the Game of Thrones “Red Wedding” bloodbath. It was clear Tuesday he values that flexibility as a talking point as much as a governance tool.
Many such individual line items were cut in this year’s $3.1 billion veto list, including a billion-dollar fund intended as a hedge against inflation, $645 million for a new prison and $195 million for a new prison hospital.
DeSantis cut $65 million for construction of new courthouses, $35 million for a Tampa Bay Rays training facility, $30 million for the University of Florida’s new music building, $20 million for the Moffitt Pasco County Life Science Park and $20 million to buy new state airplanes.
“It makes it harder for the Legislature to do pork-barrel spending,” DeSantis continued. “Because if they’re doing stuff that’s not good for taxpayers, it lands on my desk, I can X that out and still sign the entire budget.”
This year, the Legislature “spent a little more than I thought was appropriate,” and so the administration “shattered” its own veto record in the new budget, DeSantis claimed.
Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics contributed to this report.