DeSantis injects politics into $115B Florida budget proposal

By AP News

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Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis says Florida will have enough money to withstand a national economic downturn while still being able to provide tax breaks

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Gov. Ron DeSantis promised tax relief Wednesday on children’s books, pet food and even the gas stoves that have become a rallying cry for Republicans while assuring that Florida has plenty of reserves to withstand any economy downturn.

DeSantis' annual state budget proposal unveiled during a news conference in Tallahassee is nearly $115 billion, but is only a recommendation. The Legislature will approve a final budget during the annual session that begins next month.

But DeSantis has proven he usually gets what he wants from the GOP-dominated Legislature, and he's likely to see little resistance from House and Senate leaders as the governor builds a case for a possible 2024 presidential run.

And while DeSantis said he expects bad news for the national economy that will affect the state, he said Florida is in good shape.

“When you have $15.7 billion in reserves, when you have $3.4 billion in your rainy day fund, you are prepared to be able to weather those types of storms,” DeSantis said. “We are built to be able to withstand that.”

DeSantis also used the announcement to make political jabs. Republicans have expressed outrage since a study suggested gas stoves could cause health problems and some have questioned whether they should be banned, and DeSantis said liberals are coming after stoves.

“It needs to be done — no tax permanently on gas stoves,” DeSantis said. “They want your gas stove and we're not going to let that happen.”

DeSantis is also proposing to expand sales tax holidays for school supplies as well as pushing new sales tax holidays on household supplies that cost under $25, dental supplies, toiletries, pet food and on children's books, toys and athletic equipment.

“This is going to be really, really good for families in Florida,” DeSantis said.

If the Legislature agrees, state workers would get an across the board 5% raise and state jobs that are hard to fill or retain employees would see a bump of 10%.

At this point in the process, the budget will change. DeSantis originally proposed nearly $100 billion for the current fiscal year but eventually signed a $110 billion spending plan. The final product will be approved by lawmakers and DeSantis can veto individual items.

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Author: AP News

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