DeSantis vetoes bills he says waste taxpayers’ money | Florida
(The Center Square) — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed two bills and several lines of another as part of what he said was his ongoing commitment to financial stewardship.
The bills in question were passed by the legislature during the regular session earlier this year. As bills are sent to the governor for consideration, he said he goes through them to exercise his power to veto the articles.
The most recent vetoes concern a bill authorizing the purchase of new planes and the hiring of new personnel to facilitate the travel of State agents; another that pledged the state to fund a cancer center for 30 years; and the creation of a state “inflation fund”. For each veto, DeSantis sent an accompanying letter to Secretary of State Cord Byrd explaining why he was reversing the plans proposed by the legislature.
DeSantis vetoed SB 2512, an aircraft law, which created an executive aircraft pool for two new planes that would be used by more than 100 government officials 24 hours a day, every day of the year . He also authorized funding for 17 new positions within the Department of Management Services to staff and maintain the aircraft “with the goal of providing several state-owned aircraft for executive travel.”
But the plan, he said, is “an inadvisable expense, particularly in current economic conditions, and could have unintended consequences given the breadth of officials included in the authorization.”
He also vetoed lines 78-93 of SB 2526, a health care law, which awarded $20 million each year for 30 years to the board of directors of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute for the construction and development of Pasco de Moffitt County. life science park. The construction and development of the park also included the issuance of tax-exempt bonds or other forms of indebtedness passed on to the taxpayer.
DeSantis vetoed that portion of the bill, saying, “I do not support the provision of funding that will tie the state to a thirty-year long-term commitment that inhibits fiscal flexibility. These public funds could be used to support more than $300 million in surety capacity that would impact the state’s debt capacity without any state oversight.
In DeSantis’ Freedom First budget, $100 million was allocated to support the Florida Consortium of National Cancer Institute Centers program, which includes three eligible institutions, including the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute. With this allocation, the Moffitt Center is already receiving an increase of $37.7 million over the previous year.
DeSantis said he increased the funding because he was “committed to improving Florida’s competitiveness in cancer research and care nationally and internationally to ensure that all Floridians have access to care.” of the highest quality”.
He also vetoed HB 5011, which created an inflation fund. While possibly well-meaning, DeSantis said the fund would have created unintended consequences that he didn’t want to impose on taxpayers.
The legislature wanted to create the fund to offset the rising costs of state government projects. If expenses exceeded the costs allocated to them due to unprecedented inflation, the fund would cover the difference.
But DeSantis said he “could exacerbate inflation by promising more public sector funds to pay more for material supplies, while also competing with other projects across the state.”
He also said it “reduces the need for state agencies to make difficult decisions with funds already allocated.”
“Inflation is undoubtedly severe, and Floridians have seen prices rise at grocery stores, in their energy bills and at the gas pump,” he said, but the state has already passed significant reforms, created and expanded tax exemptions, and provided a range of resources to help Floridians weather the inflationary storm.
Last month, DeSantis signed the largest tax relief bill in Florida history with more than $1.2 billion in savings for taxpayers. The state also has more than $20 billion in reserves.
“By keeping the economy open, maintaining a low tax environment, and being fiscally responsible, Florida’s surplus for fiscal year 21-22 is the largest in state history – with more than $20 billion in reserves for a budget that barely exceeds $100 billion,” DeSantis said last month touting Florida’s economic success.
Florida’s revenue has now exceeded pre-pandemic estimates by more than $8 billion, DeSantis said.