On Monday afternoon, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the 2020-2021 State Budget. The budget, passed by the Florida Legislature in March at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, takes effect July 1st. The Governor used his constitutional authority to veto more than $1 Billion in spending to ensure Florida has reserve funds for operations should revenues not meet estimates in light of the pandemic.
Governor DeSantis Signs State Budget
Posted On 06/30/2020 by Matt Lettelleir
Notable survivors of the veto pen include: Teacher Pay Raises, Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and Behavioral Health Funding.
However, among the $1B in vetos were several projects important to St. Petersburg and the region that will not be funded this year:
A top priority of Speaker Designate Chris Sprowls and Senator Jeff Brandes, the 2nd District Court of Appeals was slated to receive over $20 million to move to Pinellas County. Clearly a casualty of COVID-19, we are hopeful this project will be included in next year’s budget once the crisis has passed.
A priority of the St. Pete Chamber, TBARTA was expected to be funded $1.5 million for operations. TBARTA did receive CARES Act funding which will allow the organization to weather this funding gap until next year.
The museum had hoped to begin renovations this year and had been appropriated $500,000 through the Division of Cultural Affairs grant fund. The Governor vetoed this line item leaving the project unfunded and it’s future uncertain. We will update on this as we learn more.
St. Pete College expected to receive $2 million in funds to establish additional collegiate high schools in St. Pete and Seminole. These projects will not be funded this year but lawmakers hope to include it in next year’s budget.
While disappointing, it is clear the Governor is concerned about revenue reductions over the course of the next year and wants to build in a buffer to ensure critical and essential state services are not affected next year. Should our local economy rebound, it can be expected for these projects to be considered for next year’s budget.
If you have any projects you would like our Chamber to consider including in our 2021 Legislative Agenda, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org before July 31st.