JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The largest state budget in Florida’s history didn’t have room for several local projects in Northeast Florida.
This year, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the budget with spending at $101.5 billion. Some of the vetoes included killing requests to fund the Hotel Ponce de Leon Preservation and Restoration ($250,000) and a program called St. John’s Schools Classroom to Careers/Flagships.
State Sen. Travis Hutson, who represents Florida’s 7th District, said he’s taking it all in stride.
“We’ve got a lot of good things in there,” Hutson said. “When you go through the budget process with the governor’s office, you’ve got to fight for every dollar. You don’t always get what you want, but you do get a good deal of it. So I think the projects that he did get for us was a wonderful thing.”
A summer program in Jacksonville – hoping to become every day after school – also got the veto.
“The 100 Black Men of Jacksonville has been in existence for over 20 years here in the city, but our Coding in Color program has been going on for the last three summers,” said Ronnie King, president of 100 Black Men of Jacksonville.
The Coding in Color program reached hundreds in the past year – partially due to virtual learning and the pandemic. King said a program teaching computer programing. It’ll still be around for part of the year.
King said the program, which teaches computer programming, is popular and makes an impact.
“We try not to guess and make speculations on why things were vetoed or not vetoed, but, you know, we just do what we can,” King said.
King said the program can set up young students for success they wouldn’t have imagined on their own.
“They’re learning stuff like basic programming, mobile app programming, HTML, things like that, but the biggest part of it is exposure,” he said.
Another Duval County victim of the veto was $200,000 for the Clara White Mission.
Sen. Audrey Gibson and State Rep. Wyman Duggan made the bipartisan request for a project that would distribute 130,000 hot cooked meals. It was called the Clara White Mission Daily Feeding Program for the Homeless and Low Income.