Gov. Ron DeSantis announced more than $1 billion in vetoes to the state budget on Monday in an effort to blunt the state’s economic fallout from the coronavirus.
The cuts spared most of the governor’s largest priorities and brings the state budget to $92.2 billion. It also sets aside $6.3 billion in reserves to withstand expected shortfalls over the next fiscal year, which starts Wednesday.
The federal government has begun helping Florida by steering money to help replace some of the vetoed programs. Last week, officials announced the state had received $240 million in federal CARES Act money to help families hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic pay rent and mortgages. Half of it, $120 million, will be assigned to counties to give to its residents for rental and homeowner assistance programs.
But much of the CARES Act money can’t be used to fill budget shortfalls, and Congressional Republicans, including Sen. Rick Scott, have resisted giving more money to the states. Sadaf Knight, CEO of Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added], a left-leaning think tank, criticized DeSantis for not doing more to advocate for more federal money. DeSantis is a former Congressman strongly allied with President Donald Trump.
'Our biggest concern is looking forward,' Knight said. 'This is not the end of the story.'"