SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. – Trumpeting fiscal responsibility and a revenue surplus, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed off on Florida’s $109+ billion state budget in The Villages Thursday afternoon.
The budget also includes $8,143 in per student spending, a raise in the minimum salary for public school teachers, money for grant programs for workforce education, bonuses for law enforcement officers, $100 million in funding for Florida’s National Cancer Institute program, money for manatee conservation and more.
The budget also includes a first — more than $126 million in recurring revenues for community mental health funding. Florida currently ranks 49th in access to mental health care in the country.
Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson, House Speaker Chris Sprowls, Senate President-Designate Kathleen Passidomo, Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr., State Sen. Kelli Stargel and Rep. Jay Trumbull were on hand for the budget signing.
While the budget is historic in size, DeSantis has the ability to veto items out of the budget. He vetoed some $3.1 billion in items from the budget.
The vetoed funds ranged from school programs, programs for homeless LGBT youth, environmental projects and new fire stations, to plans for a new fleet of state planes.
DeSantis said he used the veto pen robustly, breaking his record for line-item vetoes from previous years.
“We are very responsible, our services are better, our roads are better, our schools are better,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis said the legislature is putting millions into the rainy day funds to help weather any economic issues that come in the future.
While the budget is buoyed by record-breaking tax revenue, it also is cushioned by federal funding from the American Rescue Act.
This comes just as the Florida Supreme Court declined to jump into a congressional redistricting fight Thursday related to whether DeSantis’ plan would be used in this year’s elections.