Desantis rolls out Florida leads budget plan for the new fiscal year

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BAY COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) — $96.6 billion is how much money Governor Ron Desantis is proposing for this year’s budget.

Gov DeSantis rolled out a record-setting budget plan 4.3 billion dollars higher than the last one. He’s calling it the ‘Florida Leads’ budget.

“Most of that is directly related to covid response efforts,” he said.

At a news conference at the Capitol, Thursday, Desantis said his budget relies heavily on federal money. It will increase public schools’ funding, continue to funnel money into environmental issues and several transportation projects.

“We are in better shape because we made decisions that benefited the state,” he said. “Other areas have done things that have really, really destroyed their societies and their economies. Maybe they’ll come back, but it’s going to be a lot easier for Florida because we took a lot of steps early, and we kept the state afloat.”

After expecting budget and education cuts because of the pandemic, some, like State Representative Evan Jenne, are not convinced this plan is more than a Desantis wishlist.

“It does have weight because it’s coming from the most powerful man in Florida’s government,” said Jenne. “With his wish list, there will certainly be items that are checked off that he gets to claim victory. But, overall, I don’t think the governor’s proposed budget will look like what the ultimate final form is.”

But since it is just a proposal, state leaders said there could still be more than a two billion dollar budget shortfall due to the pandemic. Committees are scheduled next week to start reviewing the budget proposal.

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