As the Florida Legislature continued haggling over various items in the state budget from school scholarships to hospital funding late into Thursday night, one item emerged settled: a new plane for Gov. Ron DeSantis.
It’s been three months since DeSantis’ plane had its air masks drop and his team made an emergency landing, leaving the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to do some much-needed upgrades. DeSantis took over the plane, which has a mysterious past once thought to be connected to a drug seizure, after former Gov. Rick Scott sold off the state’s fleet when he was in office.
Scott, a millionaire former health care executive, used his own private plane to travel the state.
Since then, DeSantis’ hand-me-down plane has become a point of fascination in the world of Florida politics.
The Legislature has agreed to set aside $3.8 million for a plane, pilots and maintenance staff. At that price, DeSantis may have to start by leasing a plane, which Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, said could lead to an eventual purchase.
“This is the third largest state in the country,” Brandes said after a Thursday night budget meeting. “The governor needs to get around effectively.”