Gov. Ron DeSantis has unveiled his proposed state budget. Dubbed the “Bold vision for a brighter future” by the DeSantis administration, at $93.1 billion it is the most expensive state budget proposal in Florida’s history.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, DeSantis held a morning briefing at Florida Gulf Coast University where he stated that his proposal would surpass former Gov. Rick Scott’s proposal by $1 billion. “That's showing Florida's commitment to getting these issues right,” DeSantis said.
“The people of Florida wanted to see action, and this was action that was requested regardless of your party. This is something that can unite all Floridians.”
The proposal, which can be found at www.boldvisionforabrightervision.com, includes a $625 million for the environment, with a portion of that representing the record $2.5 billion he has promised to allocate to Florida’s water quality over his term.
Around $360 million would go to the much talked about Everglades projects. This includes finishing the 17,000-acre reservoir and the removal of around 200,000 pounds of the phosphorus pollution carried by canal-water runoff from nearby farms that has begun to contaminate the Everglades.
With Florida currently being plagued by red tide, DeSantis plans to spend around $25 million in efforts to fight algae blooms that are affecting the state’s water supply. The rest of the environment budget will be spent on making improvements to the water quality by upgrading stormwater systems and converting from septic to sewer.
The governor also plans to appoint a climate change chief to ensure that the entire operation is “sound science,” and “staying ahead of the curve.”
The Sierra Club, one of the largest environment groups in the country, posted a response to DeSantis’ proposal on its website:
“Sierra Club Florida is pleased that Governor DeSantis has made Everglades restoration and protection of Florida's waters a major budget priority. But the devil is in the details — most of which he hasn't provided yet. Based on a quick review of the six major priorities Governor DeSantis released today in Naples, we have some praise, some criticism, and lots of questions.”
While the proposal did highlight some environmental issues, the proposal did not address fracking for oil and gas in Florida, pollution tied to farming, or the statewide land planning agency that had previously been disbanded by the Scott administration.
“If we are going to buy time, we have to address climate change” Sierra Club Florida director Frank Jackalone said.
Florida’s Senate and House have all vowed to work with DeSantis. House Speaker Jose Oliva told the Miami Herald that he applauded the governor’s measures.
“The governor can count on the House of Representatives to work with him to protect Florida's environment.”
DeSantis said that he fully expects President Trump’s support as well.