Ron DeSantis’ spending priorities are financed by federal recovery aid

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TALLAHASSEE – Gov. Ron DeSantis’ $99.7 billion state budget proposal, heavily supported by federal COVID-19 recovery dollars, is getting its first reviews from Florida lawmakers in the newly opened 2022 session.

And for outnumbered Florida Democrats, frustrations are mounting.

DeSantis, who regularly spars with the Biden administration, is using $3.8 billion in federal aid money to cover some of his most eye-catching initiatives in the spending plan – even though every Republican member of the U.S. House and Senate voted against the relief spending.

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On Wednesday, the Republican governor’s budget director, Chris Spencer, twisted the political knife even more when explaining his boss’s rationale for using federal dollars to cover a $1.1 billion gas tax break for Florida motorists.

Chris Spencer, director of policy and budget for Gov. Ron DeSantis, takes questions from the press about the governor's fiscal year 2021-2022 budget proposal Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021.

“The inflation we’re experiencing right now is largely the result of monetary and fiscal mismanagement coming out of Washington, D.C.,” Spencer told the Senate Appropriations Committee. “And so the governor felt what was appropriate was to use some of the federal funds we receive to offset that.

“We’re not using Florida tax dollars to offset that gas tax. We’re using some of the state’s fiscal recovery dollars,” he added.

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