Government watchdog gives Florida $ 101.6 billion high marks
JACKSONVILLE, Florida – Implementation of the record Florida state budget began this week.
The 2021-2022 budget process was unlike any other.
Florida TaxWatch said it started when lawmakers wondered where the money would come from in the event of a pandemic. It ended with them wondering how to spend all the money.
“The Florida legislature has done a phenomenal job with the very difficult deck of cards that have been handed out to them,” said Dominic Calabro, CEO of Florida TaxWatch.
His organization has been a non-partisan government watchdog for over 40 years.
Calabro said good financial management by Florida’s elected leaders deserves some credit for the state’s $ 101.6 billion budget.
“That, added to the fact that they received about $ 10 billion in federal congressional funds, which the president signed into law, has helped us tremendously,” he said. “But it is also because we are on solid foundations. We don’t spend the money we don’t have. Our constitution prevents that.
TaxWatch points out in the numbers that Florida’s budget that began July 1 is a 10% increase from 2020, which was initially unthinkable due to the pandemic.
Calabro said gross domestic product had actually increased to over $ 1 trillion.
“About the 16th or 17th economy if Florida was a country. So we are very, very lucky, ”he said.
TaxWatch publishes a List of budget turkeys urging the governor to veto before signing the budget.
Budget turkeys are defined by TaxWatch as items, usually local member projects, placed in individual positions or in accompanying draft language that are added to the final appropriation bill without being fully reviewed and submitted to the budget process. .
One example was opposing a $ 3.5 million dune restoration project for Ponte Vedra beach.
“The main reason is transparency, accountability, monitoring of budget processes and the integrity of this budget process,” Calabro said. “A lot of these projects, like this restoration, probably very valuable and beneficial, we don’t really know because they weren’t looked at in the same way as the like-minded projects. It is therefore not an assessment of the value of the project, but of the integrity of the budget process.
While a new record is set almost every year, Florida TaxWatch said the growth this time is the highest percentage in 15 years.
You can see Calabro’s entire interview on This Week in Jacksonville. News4Jax also speaks with new university president Edward Waters on Sunday at 9 a.m.
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