Minimal transparency, an infatuation with the rich, and anti-Blackness to boot.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signing of his state’s annual budget stayed true to form. And everything about it — from the presentation to the budget’s actual content — spoke to the governor’s persona as an elitist bigot. The Tampa Bay Times gave an accurate description of the budget, writing: “This year, DeSantis cut numerous diversity and social programs while preserving billions of dollars to carry out his conservative political agenda.”
The governor, who signed the budget Thursday at a yacht club, declined to publicly announce his line-item vetoes, as he has in years past. Nonetheless, he used his legal authority to slash various programs that don’t align with his right-wing agenda. (You can read the full list of vetoes here.)
The cuts included money for a gun violence prevention program, more than a dozen drainage projects, and repairs and renovations for nearly two dozen public broadcasting stations. Meanwhile, DeSantis approved $12 million for the cruel stunts in which he flies migrants around the country, and millions more for conservative educational institutions as DeSantis’ administration targets inclusive learning plans.
And that’s not all. As the Times notes:
DeSantis also vetoed funding for projects that promote aspects of Black history, an action that is consistent with the governor’s yearslong push to restrict how racism and other aspects of history can be taught in schools and workplaces.
The governor eliminated $160,000 in funding for a Black History Month celebration in Orlando called the 1619 Fest, whose theme this year was to bring awareness to the health disparities Black people face in America. DeSantis also cut $200,000 in funding for Florida’s Black Music Legacy, a project designed to highlight the state’s contributions to Black music.
ReidOut Blog readers may remember that this lawmaker, Rep. Randy Fine, was an early backer of DeSantis’ move to strip Disney of its special tax status after company leadership spoke out against Florida’s law banning classroom discussions of LGBTQ+ people. He also threatened to strip the Special Olympics of state funding because he hadn’t been invited to one of the organization’s events.
DeSantis’ signing of Florida’s budget reinforces that he sees Florida as his political plaything — a tool he can use to message his priorities to the nation, no matter how harmful those priorities are to his actual constituents.