Florida’s budget was made official Friday afternoon, but not before Gov. Ron DeSantis issued vetoes for 25 projects and programs specifically for the Tampa Bay region.
The final $91 billion budget was signed after DeSantis cut $131 million for projects across the state. That included more than $18.7 million in the Tampa Bay region.
DeSantis, who was raised in Pinellas County, addressed his vetoes at a news conference Friday, including $1.7 million for the University of South Florida Medical Center and $500,000 to Clearwater’s Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater.
DeSantis said he let his friend Clearwater Rep. Chris Sprowls know why he was cutting his funding request.
“He wanted a half million to renovate Ruth Eckerd in Pinellas County. I graduated high school at Ruth Eckerd. They have a foundation,” he said. “The state does not need to do that, so I made that known.
The full veto list included the following regional projects:
- Hernando Schools Vocational Program $1,000,000
- Ringling College - Cross College Alliance Center for Creativity $500,000
- Stetson University College of Law - Veterans Law Institute and Veterans Advocacy $250,000
- Hernando County School District, School Hardening $1,000,000
- Lake Wales Charter Schools - Hurricane Relief $500,000
- State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota Manatee Educational Television $439,500
- Florida Polytechnic University Graduate Program Growth $500,000
- University of South Florida- St. Petersburg Joint Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies $200,000
- University of South Florida Medical Center- Quality Medical School Education, Asset Inventory Management System Initiative (AIMS) $1,715,360
- Inmate Mental Health Services Compliance at Contracted Facilities $340,948
- Grants And Aids To Local Governments And Nonstate Entities - Fixed Capital Outlay - Feeding Tampa Bay $193,000
- Grants And Aids To Local Governments And Nonstate Entities - Fixed Capital Outlay - Grants And Aids - Port Manatee Seagrass Mitigation At Perico $1,500,000
- Grants And Aids To Local Governments And Nonstate Entities - Fixed Capital Outlay - Grants And Aids - Tampa Bay Watch - Shell Key Access And Water Quality $1,000,000
- Grants And Aids To Local Governments And Nonstate Entities - Fixed Capital Outlay - Grants And Aid - Fort Meade Phosphorus Reduction $200,000
- FCO - HART Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Upgrade $500,000
- FCO - Palmetto Roadway and Drainage $481,000
- FCO - Land O' Lakes US 41 Landscape Rehabilitation $1,000,000
- Arcadia Boys and Girls Club Gym Renovation $500,000
- Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Master Site Plan $600,000
- Centennial Park Restoration Project $1,000,000
- SPCA Tampa Bay Shelter Expansion $250,000
- Brooksville Replacement of Fire Trucks and Equipment $325,000
- Dunedin EOC/Fire Training Facility $1,000,000
- Ruth Eckerd Hall Expanding the Experience Campaign $500,000
- Carter G. Woodson African American Museum $250,000