Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a record-setting $116.5 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
“We’ve done more in the last six to eight months since the election than any, I think, state has done in our lifetime to move the ball forward and be bold and take on these issues,” DeSantis said at the Pelican Yacht Club in Fort Pierce before putting pen to paper.
The GOP presidential candidate didn’t waste the opportunity to take a jab at the federal government: “If you look at how we handle our budget versus how Washington handles its budget, we run big budget surpluses in the state of Florida. We are able to do things that make a difference in people’s lives by not wasting money but by spending it on things that really have a great impact on the general public.”
The new budget features higher funding for K-12 schools, health care programs and environmental projects. It also gives another across-the-board raise to state workers, who will see their paychecks grow by 5% after a couple of pay periods down the road.
While the top-line figure is 6% larger than its predecessor, the Governor did break out his veto pen, giving the budget lawmakers passed last month a $511 million trim — relatively low for the DeSantis era, but significant nonetheless.
Most of the cuts were member projects, but DeSantis threw a lot of ink at conservation land acquisitions, nixing $100 million for such projects, including a $30.8 million set aside to acquire Kirkland Ranch.
—”Gov. Ron DeSantis signs $116.5B budget, vetoes $511M of mostly local earmarks” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics
—”DeSantis fumes about Pride flag at White House” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics
—“Universities shouldn’t be ideological churches” via Robert P. George of The Atlantic
—“Lawyer still representing Donald Trump might be key witness in classified documents case” via Jay Weaver of the Miami Herald
—“Joe biden’s student loan forgiveness plan is in danger of being struck down. What’s plan B?” via Christian Paz of Vox
—”DeSantis won’t debate Gavin Newsom, but urges him to stop ‘pussyfooting’ around about 2024 run” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics
—“In Miami, the only violence from Trump supporters was rhetorical” via Alan Feuer of The New York Times
—”Documents show how conservative doctors influenced abortion, trans rights” via Lauren Weber, Caitlin Gilbert and Taylor Lorenz of The Washington Post
—“Why California? Suarez travels to GOP island in blue state to launch presidential bid” via Joey Flechas of the Miami Herald
—“What’s happening at Starbucks and Target is much grimmer than it seems” via Christina Cauterucci of Slate
Quote of the Day
“Are you going to get in and do it, or are you just going to sit on the sidelines and chirp? Why don’t you throw your hat in the ring and then we’ll go ahead and talk about what’s happening.”
— Gov. Ron DeSantis, declining to debate California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
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Last Call is published by Peter Schorsch, assembled and edited by Phil Ammann and Drew Wilson with contributions from the staff of Florida Politics.