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Statement from Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro on Governor DeSantis’ Budget Vetoes

Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Florida TaxWatch (FTW) President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro released the following statement in response to Governor Ron DeSantis announcing his vetoes for the Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget, which totaled more than $3.1 billion.

“Florida TaxWatch commends Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for helping craft this historic $109.9 billion budget, which includes important investments in services and programs on behalf of taxpayers and also protects our state’s fiscal wellbeing and AAA bond rating with an equally historic reserve of $20.8 billion. In particular, we want to thank the governor for accepting the mantle of fiscal responsibility and vetoing $3.1 billion.

“Last month, following the legislature’s passage of the $112.1 billion budget, Florida TaxWatch’s research team identified 166 appropriations items worth $281 million that circumvented a transparent and accountable budget process. The items, which we refer to as Budget Turkeys – a label that does not signify a project’s worthiness, but rather, that it did not receive proper deliberation and public debate – were presented alongside more than $2 billion in member projects that we advised the governor to review with ‘special scrutiny’ because they often do not serve a statewide purpose or align with a core function of state government.

“Florida TaxWatch is extremely pleased to report that the veto list includes 71 of our 166 designated Budget Turkeys, valued at $109.4 million. Many of the remaining Budget Turkeys were largely water projects, which the governor did not veto given that conservation and environmental stewardship are some of his key priorities. 

“When applying his line-item veto power, it’s indisputably clear that the governor was also mindful of the $2 billion in member projects that Florida TaxWatch flagged, as he struck 228 of these projects worth $868.5 million.

“In total, the governor vetoed almost $1 billion Budget Turkeys and other member projects that were highlighted by Florida TaxWatch. These decisions reflect careful consideration of our recommendations, and what’s more, an ongoing commitment to the interests of hard-working taxpayers across the state. We thank the governor for maintaining his focus on Florida’s future and ensuring families and businesses can continue to thrive.”

To access FTW’s 2022 Budget Turkey Watch Report, please click here.

FTW will also be releasing the 2022-23 Budget Guide soon, and it will be made available here.

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