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Here are Florida lawmaker turkeys lopped by Gov. Ron DeSantis

In the Tampa Bay area, vetoes total more than $40 million in Pasco County.
 
The Community Aging and Retirement Services (CARES) is building a new senior center on the corner of Fourth Street and Florida Avenue in Dade City. It is named for Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson who donated the land for the building. Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed more than $600,000 appropriated for the construction in the state budget year beginning July 1.
The Community Aging and Retirement Services (CARES) is building a new senior center on the corner of Fourth Street and Florida Avenue in Dade City. It is named for Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson who donated the land for the building. Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed more than $600,000 appropriated for the construction in the state budget year beginning July 1. [ Tampa Bay Times ]
Published June 15, 2023|Updated June 15, 2023

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ veto pen splashed a lot of ink across Pasco County.

DeSantis, in signing the $117 billion state budget Thursday, also vetoed 331 individual appropriations totaling nearly $511 million.

In the Tampa Bay area, the vetoed budget appropriations, known commonly as turkeys, totaled more than $40 million in Pasco County.

They included more than $30 million for the state to buy the development rights of the Kirkland Ranch, east of Curley Road in San Antonio, to preserve the land for conservation. Other notable Pasco cuts included $1 million for the Sarah Vande Berg Tennis and Wellness Center in Zephyrhills.

The money was intended to pay the increased cost of the new covered sports and activity center planned at the center, financed by $4.6 million the city received from a previous legislative allocation.

The city has had big plans for the addition but now, it seems, “It’s going to have to be pared down a bit,” said Kevin Weiss, city of Zephyrhills spokesperson.

The governor also cut money sought by the financially troubled Community Aging and Retirement Services, or CARES, which was seeking more than $600,000 to complete its Dade City senior center that is under construction.

The nonprofit overspent its current contract to provide elder care by $1.2 million. It balked at new financial controls from the Area Agency on Aging and withdrew its bid to renew its contract for six more years. It also sparked conflict of interest questions after it sold its current Dade City senior center building to the chairperson of its board of directors.

State Sen. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, who sponsored the appropriation, previously said he believed the allocation should follow the new building, not the charity, since the facility would serve older residents no matter who operates it. But that didn’t turn out to be the case.

In Pinellas, the DeSantis veto pen scratched out more than $1.1 million for the Pinellas Urban League’s center for trauma recovery, wellness and healing justice. The program provides comprehensive mental health services for survivors of violent crimes and their loved ones.

“The decision to veto these projects not only disregards the needs of many Floridians but targets Black and brown people, who are often more likely to experience violent crimes and substance use disorders,” said state Rep. Michele Rayner-Goolsby, D-St. Petersburg.

The University of South Florida also was whacked by more than $20 million when the governor vetoed money for the USF nursing facility at the Sarasota-Manatee campus.

“While we respect the governor’s decision, we remain committed to this important project, and will work with the governor and the Legislature to explore other avenues of funding to ensure this important facility for our students and faculty is completed as soon as possible,” USF President Rhea Law said in a released statement.

Here are the budget vetoes by county:

Pasco

  • Pasco County Anclote River Park boat ramps and parking, $1.45 million.
  • CARES senior center, Dade City, $642,927.
  • Kirkland Ranch land acquisition, $30.8 million.
  • H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center life sciences campus road, $5 million.
  • Dade City athletic fields renovation, $250,000.
  • Sarah Vande Berg Tennis and Wellness Center in Zephyrhills, $1 million.
  • Pasco County Fire mobile command vehicle, $900,000.
  • Tampa Bay Water Morris Bridge wellfield improvements, $2.5 million.

Pinellas

  • Pinellas County Urban League, Center for Trauma Recovery, Wellness and Healing Justice, two separate appropriations totaling $1.1 milion.
  • Operation PAR Largo Campus residential flooding remedy, $180,960.
  • Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority electric vehicle charging stations, $500,000.
  • Ruth Eckerd Hall public safety communications and surveillance system, $482,000.
  • Sixth Judicial Circuit second chance training program for former inmates, $350,000.
  • Penny Lane Beatles Museum expansion and relocation to Clearwater, $825,000.
  • Treasure Island public safety complex, $1 million.

Hillsborough

  • Tampa Police Department license plate reader technology, $200,000.
  • University of South Florida simulation modeling to reduce opioid overdose, $2.9 million.
  • Tampa Bay Watch Inc. water quality improvements, $1.5 million.
  • City of Tampa water system Morris Bridge continuity of operations center, $2.5 million.
  • Florida Aquarium, for reducing carbon emissions, $500,000.
  • Hillsborough Habitat for Humanity resilient homes for heroes, $10,000.
  • Florida Orchestra digital concert hall, $500,000.