Turkey list: Florida TaxWatch finds $855M in budget ‘turkeys’
Ease up: Dominic Calabro warns of Florida’s burdensome tax environment.

calabro
'Any sheepishness about attempting to ‘bring home the bacon’ seems to have disappeared.'

It’s turkey season in Tallahassee, and the turkeys are thriving.

This year, Florida TaxWatch, a taxpayer watchdog group, found 450 budget projects totaling $854.6 million they deem to be “turkeys” — more commonly known as pork barrel spending or member projects. That’s a 43% increase over last year, when the group found $598.7 million in turkeys.

The overall budget this year is $117.5 billion. Lawmakers have yet to formally send the budget (HB 5001) to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“When considering the budget, we strongly encourage Gov. DeSantis to assess each project we flagged — Turkey or otherwise — and determine whether its funding is counter to good budgeting practices; it addresses a core state government function; and/or it was selected through a fair process that promotes the best interests of taxpaying citizens across the state,” Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro said in a prepared statement.

TaxWatch defines a project as a “turkey” if it avoids the regular budget process for member projects; is funded ahead of other projects with greater need; is inserted into the budget during negotiations with the House and Senate, and wasn’t included in the budget of either chamber initially; the item was zeroed out in the negotiations but later reinserted, usually in the “sprinkle list”; or if it is funded from an improper trust fund, is duplicative or based on legislation that didn’t pass.

TaxWatch stresses that its turkey list isn’t a judgment on the worthiness of each project, but meant to bring transparency and oversight to the state budget process. But the report also criticizes the “explosion” in member projects, despite attempts in 2017 to bring more transparency to the process surrounding them under then-House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

“Member projects have always been important to legislators, but their proliferation has changed attitudes towards them,” the report states. “Any sheepishness about attempting to ‘bring home the bacon’ seems to have disappeared. The formal processes for requesting member projects that the Legislature created may have contributed to that, even if they have improved transparency.”

The largest portion of the turkeys were the 281 water projects worth $410.3 million the TaxWatch report says didn’t go through the Department of Environmental Protection’s competitive grant program, which “helps ensure that the best projects are awarded funding under a coordinated, statewide framework and promote state goals and priorities.”

Gray Rohrer


7 comments

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 15, 2024 at 12:13 pm

    The real Turkey List of Florida is

    Ron Dee DeSantis
    Donald J Trump
    Rudolph Guiliani
    Cucker Tarlson
    …you get the idea…

    Reply

  • Michael Scott

    May 15, 2024 at 5:28 pm

    Another genius leftist comment…..

    Reply

    • rick whitaker

      May 15, 2024 at 6:05 pm

      MICHAEL SCOTT, i also thought DSF’s comment was rather good and on the mark.

      Reply

      • Dont Say FLA

        May 16, 2024 at 8:19 am

        Thank you sir

        And it’s extra good bc the turkey list is generally though to be a list of the unworthy, but it’s more a list of those who didn’t follow the normal process, and that list of guys, they’re BOTH!

        Reply

        • rick whitaker

          May 16, 2024 at 10:55 pm

          DSF , socioeconomic injustice is my focus, i’m fanatical about it you can tell.

          Reply

    • Dont Say FLA

      May 16, 2024 at 8:18 am

      TANKS! For Israel, but not Ukraine. Never Ukraine. As a matter of fact, if we could away with it, we G0Ps would sent tanks to Russia. But due to the very deep abortion hole we put ourselves in, we think we cannot currently send tanks to Russia because we still don’t know our voters and our leader is on trial right now for felonious criminal charges that all stem from our ignorance of our voters. We thought then and we think now that they care about stuff. LOL @ us! All we really know about our voters is that we tell them we know them and they believe it! LOL @ our voters
      Tanks,
      Today’s G0P
      Not your father’s G0P
      We’re more like your great great great great great grandfather’s Democrat party circa 1860

      Reply

  • Cindy

    May 16, 2024 at 3:43 pm

    This article sounds like anthor financial literacy course with in charge of check book .

    Reply

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