PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Florida’s budget is ready to be signed by Gov. Ron Desantis but first he gets to review and possibly veto certain projects.

But each year, before he puts pen to paper, Florida TaxWatch, a non-profit watchdog organization, examines the budget for what they call tax turkeys

On Thursday they released a list of 166 “turkeys” in the state budget. TaxWatch singles out turkeys based on how spending items get into the budget, rather than trying to evaluate the economic merits of projects. They named 14 projects in The Panhandle.

“What they are, are appropriations that end up in the final state budget that didn’t get the deliberation and review that they should,” said Kurt Wenner, Florida TaxWatch senior vice president of research.

Those projects include $10 million for a wastewater treatment facility at Tyndall Air Force Base; $1.6 million for a wasterwater treatment plant expansion in Lynn Haven; $3 million for a septic and to sewer program in laguna beach and $5 million for the regional parks project in Panama City.

“We’re not saying that any of these projects that are on our list are necessarily a waste of money or bad projects but the point is if they don’t follow the normal budgeting process you don’t know that for sure,” Wenner said.

TaxWatch officials say Desantis does use his veto pen each year and has usually killed a third of the projects in the annual budget.

Locals waiting to find out if their projects will make it should not have to wait too much longer. Desantis is expected to sign the budget before the fiscal year begins on July 1.


Holmes County Agricultural Center $250,000 Holmes

Holmes County Extension Facility $325,000 Holmes

Jackson County Agricultural Center $700,000 Jackson

Washington Co Ag. Center – Entrance and Parking Lot Improvements $700,000 Washington

Bay County Military Point Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility / Tyndall Air Force Base Water Reuse $10,000,000 Bay

DeFuniak Springs CR 280B Water and Sewer Expansion $500,000 Walton

DeFuniak Springs CR 280B Water and Sewer Expansion $500,000 Walton

Lynn Haven Wastewater Treatment Plant Headworks Expansion $1,670,000 Bay

Panama City Beach Laguna Beach Septic to Sewer Program $3,000,000 Bay

Panama City Kings Bayou/Pretty Bayou Sewer and Water System Expansion Phase II-B $3,500,000 Bay

Vernon Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvements $1,075,000 Washington

Altha Park Perimeter Fencing $50,000 Calhoun

Panama City Four Regional Parks Project $5,000,000 Bay

Veterans Park Land Development $400,000 Liberty