Ron DeSantis' spending priorities are financed by federal recovery aid

  
Via:  Ender  •  6 days ago  •  21 comments

By:   John Kennedy (USA TODAY)

Ron DeSantis' spending priorities are financed by federal recovery aid
Democrats are growing increasingly frustrated by Gov. Ron DeSantis ability to bash President Joe Biden, then spend dollars Congress steered to states.

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TALLAHASSEE - Gov. Ron DeSantis' $99.7 billion state budget proposal, heavily supported by federal COVID-19 recovery dollars, is getting its first reviews from Florida lawmakers in the newly opened 2022 session.

And for outnumbered Florida Democrats, frustrations are mounting.

DeSantis, who regularly spars with the Biden administration, is using $3.8 billion in federal aid money to cover some of his most eye-catching initiatives in the spending plan - even though every Republican member of the U.S. House and Senate voted against the relief spending.

On Wednesday, the Republican governor's budget director, Chris Spencer, twisted the political knife even more when explaining his boss's rationale for using federal dollars to cover a $1.1 billion gas tax break for Florida motorists.

"The inflation we're experiencing right now is largely the result of monetary and fiscal mismanagement coming out of Washington, D.C.," Spencer told the Senate Appropriations Committee. "And so the governor felt what was appropriate was to use some of the federal funds we receive to offset that.

"We're not using Florida tax dollars to offset that gas tax. We're using some of the state's fiscal recovery dollars," he added.

Spencer's comments tracked the tone of DeSantis' State of the State speech Tuesday to a joint session of the Republican-controlled Legislature, which opened its 60-day session. Calling the state "free" from federal mask and vaccine policies during the pandemic, DeSantis ridiculed the Biden administration's guidance.

Last year, DeSantis also said of the American Rescue Plan, "In some respects, it's Washington at its worst." He called the package a "Christmas tree," filled with dollars sought by Democratic interest groups.

DeSantis poised to run for re-election


Democrats acknowledge DeSantis is well-positioned for his reelection run in November and is certain to campaign on the relative strength of the state's economy.

But Democrats are struggling to shift the narrative and remind Floridians that funding approved by the Democratic-controlled Congress, and signed by Biden, is financing key initiatives advanced by the governor.

"It's that 'financial mismanagement' that he characterizes that is allowing the governor to beat his chest about a budget with reserves and allocate slush funds of $1 billion," Sen. Jason Pizzo, D-North Miami Beach, said of Spencer's remarks. "It's Twilight Zone."

The governor's office initially put the amount of federal aid in his budget proposal at $3.4 billion, but now acknowledges it's more like $3.8 billion. Republicans on House and Senate budget committees have generally endorsed the governor's approach in opening hearings.

That bounty of federal cash is not only financing the $1.1 billion gas tax reduction but it's also covering the $100 million needed to clean and close the Piney Point phosphate site in Manatee County and the governor's own $100 million Job Growth Grant fund, which can distribute needed dollars to community construction projects.

Biden often attacked by DeSantis


While DeSantis steadily attacks the Biden administration, with Florida having sued the White House four times over vaccine mandates and immigration policies, the Republican governor is capitalizing politically on financial support from Washington.

On Tuesday, the House budget committee similarly tussled over the role of the federal relief dollars in meeting DeSantis' high-profile spending priorities.

The gas tax cut - a 25-cents-a-gallon reduction - would begin in July and extend for five months, through the November election. Another $550 million for Resilient Florida, which would help cities and counties pay for infrastructure improvements needed to combat climate change's effects, also is financed with American Rescue Plan money.

In addition, the $1,000 bonuses spread among teachers, law enforcement and first responders that the governor wants lawmakers to approve is financed with the federal aid.

House Democrats had prodded Spencer to acknowledge the importance of the Washington cash. But Spencer downplayed its role in the governor's $99.7 billion spending proposal for next year, which includes a remarkable $15 billion in reserves.

"They were not critical," Spencer said Tuesday, in response to questions from Democrats seeking him to characterize the dollars. Rep. Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa, refused to accept that explanation.

"I hear that, on the one hand, it's not so significant," she said. "But on the other, we're going to make significant changes in how we interact with the people of Florida, through tax relief because we have these federal funds. It sounds a little incongruent."


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Ender
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Ender    6 days ago

So this idiot is using federal funds to fund a gas tax relief that will only last through the elections.

It all seems like he is giving out candy for his reelection purposes that we all pay for.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  Ender @1    6 days ago

So what? Biden is spending billions of taxpayer dollars importing, transporting, and supporting thousands of illegal immigrants...for reelection purposes.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
1.1.1  seeder  Ender  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1    6 days ago

Can't talk about the topic huh?

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
1.1.2  Greg Jones  replied to  Ender @1.1.1    6 days ago

Sure!

Sounds like a good use of the funds...being used for the benefit of the taxpayers

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
1.1.3  seeder  Ender  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1.2    6 days ago

So the rest of the country should pay for a state gas tax offset that only will last until the election...

Can you honestly tell me with a straight face you would be ok with a so called Liberal run state doing this?

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.1.4  Kavika   replied to  Greg Jones @1.1    6 days ago

If you're going to go off-topic, Gregg then it's the perfect time to point out that the moron and his administration allowed a million COVID tests kits to expire in late December when FL reeling from covid cases.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.1.5  Trout Giggles  replied to  Ender @1.1.1    6 days ago

If he can't stay on topic, flag him

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
1.1.6  Greg Jones  replied to  Kavika @1.1.4    6 days ago

I'm glad you brought that up..

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.1.7  Kavika   replied to  Greg Jones @1.1.6    6 days ago

Your welcome, the DeSantis administration denied that there were a million kits about to expire a week before they had to admit that they indeed did.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1.8  devangelical  replied to  Kavika @1.1.7    5 days ago

I'm looking forward to his rift with the mango maniac blowing up in the media and lots of split GOPer tickets during the autocrat primaries this spring.

 
 
 
gooseisback
Freshman Silent
1.2  gooseisback  replied to  Ender @1    6 days ago
It all seems like he is giving out candy

He's trying to curb inflation caused by the current administration. He's not giving funds to special interest he's giving the funds back to his constituents, people who "drive", giving it to teachers, first responders, Law enforcement, and for climate change what's your problem with that?

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.2.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  gooseisback @1.2    6 days ago

How did the current administration cause the inflation? I thought the inflation was due to our supply chain...and that's not Biden's fault

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
1.2.2  seeder  Ender  replied to  gooseisback @1.2    6 days ago

So you have no problem with US taxpayers paying for his giveaway that only lasts until the election...

So Biden caused inflation all by his little lonesome...

Do some of you even think before typing?

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.2.3  Kavika   replied to  gooseisback @1.2    6 days ago

BS, it's all about him getting reelected. If he was so concerned about the citizens of our state he might want to put that money into the $36 billion pension fund shortfall which will really have some serious consequences if not addressed.

 
 
 
gooseisback
Freshman Silent
1.2.4  gooseisback  replied to  Ender @1.2.2    6 days ago
So you have no problem with US taxpayers paying for his giveaway

The tax payers are getting their money back.

 
 
 
gooseisback
Freshman Silent
1.2.5  gooseisback  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.2.1    6 days ago
I thought the inflation was due to our supply chain.

I believe it is supply chain, mostly if not entirely caused by Covid.  Biden made the claim on numerous occasions that he would defeat Covid, he lied Covid is not under control and I would say is worse than the previous administration. 

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
1.2.6  seeder  Ender  replied to  gooseisback @1.2.4    6 days ago

How so? Florida going to pay it back?

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2  Kavika     6 days ago

Good old ''Speaks with Forked Tongue'' strikes again.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  Ender  replied to  Kavika @2    6 days ago

The sad thing is, he will probably get reelected...

 
 
 
Snuffy
Junior Participates
3  Snuffy    6 days ago

Oh dear...   a governor of a state is using federal funding received for COVID issues on something other than COVID...   the horror, the horror........

Where else have we seen this happen?   I don't like it here any more than I liked it when Democratic governors used their covid funding for their own pet projects...   Didn't see anybody bitching before..

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
3.1  seeder  Ender  replied to  Snuffy @3    6 days ago

A project is one thing, a give a way for reelection is another...

 
 

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