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DeSantis touts pandemic policy of opening up, ignores federal stimulus as he signs $100 billion state budget

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Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the Florida state budget at an event in New Smyrna Beach on Wednesday. Image: Florida Channel

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a $100 billion state budget Wednesday in New Smyrna Beach.

He credited his policy opening up Florida during the pandemic, but gave no credit to the federal rescue funds that pay for some of the programs he emphasized.

DeSantis spoke at The Garlic, a restaurant where business has been booming in recent months.

“We will be signing a budget that responsibly supports our men and women in law enforcement, our K-12 education students and teachers, conserves and protects our great environmental and natural resources,” he said.

Some of Florida’s $10 billion in federal rescue funds goes to those priorities, like $1,000 bonuses for first responders, teachers and principals. It also boosts ports and highway improvements and environmental protection.

Senate Democrats denounced DeSantis’ failure to give credit where credit is due as “a crass example of freeloading off the hard work of others.”


DeSantis had good news and bad news for Lake County on Wednesday.

First, the bad news. His veto pen canceled $2 million for a new public safety radio system and $1.5 million for a hurricane-proof multi-use building near the animal shelter.

DeSantis also vetoed drinking water improvements in Groveland, an Emergency Operations Center in Mount Dora and a public services building in Clermont.

On the other hand, Lake County got a $4 million boost in its effort to develop regional trails. The final budget still includes money for the so-called Green Mountain Connector and the Wekiva Trail Expansion.

The budget passed the Legislature earlier this year with only one representative voting against it, Lake County’s own Anthony Sabatini. 


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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.