Passidomo, Renner: Don’t Worry After Vetoes

by | Jun 14, 2024

House and Senate leaders reassured legislative workers that their jobs are secure despite Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoing over $56 million from the state budget for legislative support services, as they explore using rainy day funds to cover the shortfall.

House and Senate leaders rushed to assure about 200 legislative workers that “they do not need to worry” after Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday slashed more than $56 million from part of the state budget that pays for “legislative support services.”

DeSantis’ vetoes included roughly $28.3 million for the Senate and $28.3 million for the House for the fiscal year that will begin July 1. The money is used to pay for such things as the Office of Economic & Demographic Research, the Old Capitol museum, the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, joint legislative committees, the Florida Channel, and lobbyist registration services.

The vetoes also included budget fine print that would have required the Office of Economic & Demographic Research to “conduct a study and present policy options” on the effect of fees charged by credit card companies on sales taxes.

Hours after DeSantis’ vetoes were released, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, and House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, sent a memo to legislative workers advising them that the leaders were working on the issue.

“We want to assure the hundreds of hardworking, dedicated legislative employees who serve our joint offices that they do not need to worry. We will work this out,” Passidomo and Renner wrote in the memo Wednesday evening.

The memo acknowledged that DeSantis “had a concern” with the fine print, known as proviso language, language about the study.

“Unfortunately, there are unintended consequences that impact the Legislature’s budget,” the leaders wrote. The vetoes would affect about 200 employees, according to Katie Betta, a spokeswoman for Passidomo.

Legislative leaders may be able to access “rainy day reserve funding” to “temporarily bridge the gap,” Betta said in an email. “To ensure continuity of operations of the legislative branch of government, Florida law grants the Legislature the authority to accrue and utilize a rainy day fund, comprised of dollars that were appropriated, but unspent in prior years. Due to prudent financial management of limited taxpayer dollars under prior administrations, we do have rainy day funds, and are in the process of reviewing joint budgets for the upcoming fiscal year to determine the amount of gap funding needed to maintain operations,” Betta said.

The vetoes came as DeSantis signed a $116.5 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year.


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