State House takes first look at governor’s budget

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By: Jake Stofan | Capitol News Service
February 5, 2019

Courtesy: WJHG

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- House budget leaders are already expressing hesitations about some of Governor Ron DeSantis’ key budget requests. Environmental spending and a reduction in borrowing from trust funds are two major sticking points.

The House Appropriations Committee got its first overview of Governor DeSantis’ $91.3 billion budget proposal Tuesday.

“Probably the best proposed budget in, let's say eight years,” said Representative Evan Jenne.

That’s because of some major bi-partisan requests, like not taking money from state trust funds dedicated to things like affordable housing.

“What I hope is that setting that standard also comes with a veto threat,” said Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith.

DeSantis is also asking for $625 million in environmental spending. House Budget Chair Travis Cummings says the House is far from meeting that goal.

“We've gotta figure out how we're going to do that and where those dollars are going to come from,” said Cummings. "We think about $225 or $250 million.”

One thing House Republicans and Democrats both agree with the governor on: disaster recovery needs to be a priority.

“There are families with small children living in tents and out of their cars just two hours from here,” Panama City resident Jennifer Burg told the committee.

Burg, part of a group called Michael’s Angels, gave an emotional plea to lawmakers.

“Today, we need your help more than ever to ensure that we are appropriated the funds we so desperately need to save our communities,” said Burg.

However, it’s not clear if that what the state can afford will be enough to satisfy those hit hardest by the storm.

“We can't fund all the projects. I mean, what I'm seeing so far, we're going to need help from our federal partners,” said Cummings.

The governor’s plan includes at least $2 billion for hurricane recovery, most coming from the federal government.

The Senate Appropriations Committee will receive its budget briefing Wednesday morning.



 
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