PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Gov. Ron DeSantis used his veto pen lightly Wednesday to chop $1.5 million out of the massive state budget.
The governor signed Florida’s largest budget ever, $101 billion, after vetoing about 150 projects.
“We spend money prudently but I think we spend it effectively and I think we’re focusing on areas that will really make a difference,” DeSantis said. “Obviously, regarding some of the folks who have been instrumental in the last year to keep Florida moving forward.”
The budget includes $1,000 bonuses for teachers and first responders and millions in projects for Bay County. As appropriations chairman, Rep. Jay Trumbull, R-Panama City, oversaw the budget for the Florida House.
“I think people in Tallahassee are tired of me talking about it but it is a fact of life that we are still trying to recover from Hurricane Michael.”
Trumball said the legislature focused on infrastructure improvements and clean water initiatives for the area. These include $1 million for a North Bay water quality improvement program, $1 million for wastewater and stormwater improvements in Lynn Haven, and a little over $3 million for removing and relocating a sewer line from St. Andrews Bay.
There’s also $600,000 for a fire training tower in Panama City Beach, $3 million to expand the water system in the Kings Bayou area, and $1 million for a transitional housing facility for homeless youth.
“I think these resources will be able to significantly bolster what we have and allow us the opportunity to grow in the future,” Trumbull said.
Finally, Gulf Coast State College is in the budget for another $11.5 million. College officials will combine that with $12 million in previous appropriations to build a new science, technology, engineering, and math facility.