Democratic lawmakers frustrated as Gov. DeSantis’ vetoes hit blue communities

Florida Democrat Donkey Flag
Projects championed by some of Florida's most vocal Democrats ended up on the chopping block.

Were Democrats hit harder when it came to vetoes on local spending? Many felt a sting after Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Office published some $511 million in line items nixed from the state budget.

Rep. Michele Rayner-Goolsby, a St. Petersburg Democrat, saw two priority projects vetoed. Those included $1.15 million for The Well Center for Trauma Recovery, Wellness, and Healing Justice, as well as about $181,000 for Operation PAR, a licensed residential substance use treatment program specifically catering to pregnant and parenting women.

“As a representative of our community, it is my duty to advocate for programs and initiatives that prioritize the well-being and safety of our constituents. I firmly believe that these appropriation projects were instrumental in addressing pressing issues and providing essential support to those who need it most,” Rayner-Goolsby said.

“The decision to veto these projects not only disregards the needs of many Floridians but targets Black and Brown people, who are often more likely to experience violent crimes and substance use disorders. These cuts fail to acknowledge the long-term benefits and cost savings that such initiatives would have offered to our community. I strongly urge my fellow lawmakers to reaffirm our commitment to providing comprehensive services and care to survivors of violent crimes and support pregnant and parenting women in their journey toward recovery.”

Rep. Rita Harris, an Orlando Democrat, felt frustrated by a number of environmental projects that were killed even as DeSantis boasted about water spending.

“I firmly disagree with the decision to veto $500 million from the bipartisan supported state budget,” Harris said.

“Unfortunately, many good projects that would have relieved Florida’s taxpayers with everything from flood water mitigation to neighborhood resource centers were vetoed because the Governor is disconnected from the needs of average Floridians. However, I will never stop fighting for Floridians to be healthy, safe and prosperous.”

Rep. Robin Bartleman, a Weston Democrat, felt frustrated her region felt a brunt of budget cuts. The Legislature had budgeted nearly $263,000 for rehabilitation of triple 96-inch metal drainage culverts, just one key Broward environmental project lost to the veto pen.

“The water projects were very important to my community, especially the infrastructure project for the South Broward Drainage district,” she said. “Inland flooding is a real issue for southwest Broward — I am grateful it made it through the process and am disappointed it was vetoed. I will try again next year.”

Rep. Ashley Gantt, a Miami Democrat, saw many projects she championed get cut from the signed budget. “I’m very disappointed,” she said.

“The fact is that he (DeSantis) represents ALL Floridians and to veto a senior citizen program, a School STEM program and a jobs program is absurd. Especially since he continues to boast about the surplus. If you look at the programs that were cut, you’ll see that programs were cut that provide substantial assistance to communities. I will say that I’m happy that I fought for the programs to get in the budget because that was my job and I’ll continue to work for my community.”

Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat, saw some projects survive while others were vetoed. She expressed concern about whether the politics of certain communities played an outsized role in determining cuts.

“Florida is a diverse state and Democrats often represent largely populated parts of Florida that generate billions of dollars in revenue,” she said. “Every part of the state deserves to be funded, especially parts of the state that generate so much revenue in the first place.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


5 comments

  • PeterH

    June 15, 2023 at 9:56 pm

    CRUEL RETRIBUTION POLICIES IN ACTION

    Democrats need to understand that Ron DeSantis, like a child bully, will punish anyone who opposes him. The targets will certainly be minorities with limited resources to fight back. Black and brown people in this case. DeSantis’s great lack of intelligence is on full display with his needless and pointless full frontal attack on Disney. Disney has better lawyers ……and well DeSantis has incompetent Ashley Moody.

    Meanwhile DeSantis’s numerous failing lawsuits are costing the Florida taxpayers millions of dollars. In his latest political stunt, DeSantis is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to charter private jets to fly Texas immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard and California. If left untethered, DeSantis will round up Venezuela’s undocumented living in Weston and Cuban undocumented living in Little Havana!

    Republicans are America’s biggest problem!
    Vote all Republicans out of office!

  • Michael K

    June 15, 2023 at 10:08 pm

    Cruelty is the point with this petty tyrant. It’s not enough that he is trying to erase Black history, LGBTQ people, destroy public education and force women to lose bodily autonomy – he has to take his personal revenge on anyone or anyplace that does not kowtow to his narrow, bigoted and hateful views.

    Driven by anger and resentment, this governor cares only about his personal political power, at any cost, including human lives. Now we know why he does not talk about his “Catholic faith.” He has no soul, no conscience, no basic human decency, and certainly no compassion. Imagine the rage and retribution when he fails to secure the nomination. But of course, because he is always the victim, his failure will always be someone else’s fault.

  • Eduardo Slaveen Worldwide 👍

    June 15, 2023 at 11:07 pm

    He’s cooked his goose with all the far right, anti-democratic politics. This man will never become president because of what he’s done.

  • A.C. Ronym

    June 16, 2023 at 6:40 am

    FLA POL = Far Left Angry Polemics Overwhelm Logic

  • Ron DeF*ckhead

    June 17, 2023 at 12:55 pm

    Ron DeSantis literally doesn’t give one flying f*ck about anybody in Florida other than his own base. He’s a selfish, narcissist, prick and f*ck you if you support him.

Comments are closed.


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