TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (FNN) – Many of the legislative committees are meeting in preparation for the upcoming legislative session on March 2, 2021.
The Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee met on February 10, 2021 to discuss the Governor’s Leads Budget as it pertains to agriculture and natural resources.
Kimberly Cramer, from the Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget, and also the Environmental and Policy Coordinator for Governor Ron DeSantis, and Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein, gave presentations regarding the budget.
According to Cramer, the Environmental Unit consists of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Department of Citrus, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Of the governor’s proposed Leads Budget totalling $96.6 million, $4.3 million or 4.5 percent goes to the environmental unit and is broken down as follows:
- Department of Environmental Protection – 50%
- Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – 40%
- Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission – 9%
- Department of Citrus – 1%
According to Secretary Valenstein, climate change and sea-level rise are two critical issues that Florida faces and sea-level rise not only has physical impacts, but economic ones as well.
There are two programs funded by the governor’s budget that will help deal with these issues. They are the Resilient Florida Grant program and the Office of Resilience and Coastline Protection. The governor’s budget proposes $1 billion over four years for the grant program and $60 million for the Office of Resilience and Coastline Protection.
The Resilient Flordia Grant program would receive $10 million in cash to make sure that 100% of our coastal communities have a Peril of Flood, a Vulnerability Plan, or some combination of both in place. This way when businesses want to come to those communities, they can say we have analyzed any potential impacts and have a plan on how to deal with them.
The grant would also receive a bonded amount of $165 million in the first year which would allow the state to come in and address key state assets with grant money or increased cost on capital outlay to deal with sea-level rise so there is a strong partnership with the state not only on the planning side but in the implementation of projects.
The $60 million for the Office of Resilience and Coastal Protections includes $50 million for beach restoration and inlet management and $10 million for staff that works on coral and other resilience planning items.
The budget also proposes $2.5 billion for Everglades restoration and protection of water resources over four years. The $2.5 billion would include $1 billion from Resilient Florida over four years from increased DocStamps which will allow for more bonding and $625 million each year for water quality.
The budget breakdown for this $2.5 billion is as follows:
- Everglades Restoration – $473 million
- Targeted Water Quality – $145 million
- Springs Restoration – $50 million
- Alternative Water Supply Grant Program – $40 million
- Water Quality Enhancement and Accountability – $10.8 million
- Innovative Solutions to Algae – $10 million
- FWC Center for Red Tide Research – $4.2 million
For a total proposed budget for Everglades and Water Resources of $733 million a year.
With regards to land protection, the budget includes money for the following:
- Contaminated Site Cleanup – $67 million
- Volkswagon Clean Air Act – $30 million
- Florida Forever – $50 million
- State Parks Management and Improvements – $32 million
Lynn DeJarnette is a Florida National News reporter. | email@example.com
Gov. DeSantis Awards $4 Million to the Town of Callahan Through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund
CALLAHAN, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis awarded $4 million to the Town of Callahan through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to construct a clean water supply plant at Crawford Diamond Industrial Park, which is a 1,800-acre industrial megasite. The site is served by two major rail lines and located in proximity to multiple interstate highways and shipping ports. This infrastructure project will enable this site to support approximately 500 jobs directly and 2,158 total jobs in high-wage, sustainable industries, including manufacturing, and the development will result in substantial economic impacts and the long-term growth of the local economy as a whole.
“I am happy to support a project that will spur economic growth and create long-term value,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “This investment will facilitate strong infrastructure improvements and create jobs that enhance the quality of life for residents in Nassau County.”
“DEO is proud to support Governor DeSantis’ mission to prioritize Floridians’ livelihoods and further business development opportunities,” said DEO Secretary Dane Eagle. “This funding will provide the Town of Callahan with the resources necessary to make infrastructure improvements, create jobs, and serve as a great example of the kinds of synergy that strategic investments can seed between shipping, transportation and industrial infrastructure.”
“Florida’s business friendly policies, championed by Governor DeSantis, have been a reason for attracting business and talent to our state,” said Aundra Wallace, President, JAXUSA Partnership. “The appeal of doing business in Florida has been especially evident over the last few years, as companies are searching for lower cost of doing business, desirable infrastructure and an available and skilled workforce.”
The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund is an economic development program designed to promote public infrastructure and workforce training across the state. Proposals are reviewed by DEO and Enterprise Florida, Inc., and are chosen by Governor DeSantis to meet the demands for workforce training or infrastructure needs in communities around the state.
DEO and EFI are currently accepting proposals until all funding has been awarded. For more information, visit www.FloridaJobs.org/JobGrowth.
Gov. DeSantis Announces 2022 Tax Holidays, Doubles Down Against Disney
OCALA, Fla. (FNN) – Florida governor Ron DeSantis announced the 2022 tax relief package, which waives sales tax on certain items across the year, while emphasizing his criticism against the Walt Disney Company.
“We’re going to end the fiscal year with our largest surplus in the history of Florida, close to $20 billion,” the governor said during a press conference at a Sam’s Club in Ocala alongside his wife Casey and two of their children, as well as Florida Department of Children and Families secretary Shevaun Harris and Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson.
“We have supported Florida jobs from day one, while others are yet to recover,” he added. “We did not want to descend into some Faucian dystopia. America is going through the worst inflation the country has seen in forty years, over 8.5 percent… Most of the stuff that they [the federal government] count as not significant is significant in your daily lives, much higher than 8.5 percent increases, like fuel, groceries.”
The bill, called HB-7071, offers $1.24 billion in tax relief. “You’re going to see breaks for things like fuel, diapers, recreational activities,” the governor said.
Diapers, clothes, and baby shoes will be tax-free starting July 1st. Children’s books will be tax-free for three months starting May 14. July 25 through August 7th will be the “Back To School” tax holiday, where certain school supplies will be tax-free.
Other calendar announcements include “Freedom Week,” where recreational equipment will also be tax-free, and “Disaster Preparedness,” which will waive taxes on emergency kits and window and door barriers.
The full calendar can be seen and downloaded at the Florida Department of Revenue website.
DeSantis also reiterated that the Walt Disney Company “will not hold their own government,” in the latest round of the Florida governor’s stance against the entertainment giant, due to the latter’s criticism of recent legislation in the state.
“It’s not the responsibility of Florida residents to fund your corporate speech,” DeSantis said. “Disney is not going to have its own government in Florida. Disney is going to have to live under the same laws as everyone in Florida, Disney will have to pay their taxes.”
“It’s Not About Having a Sheet of Paper”: Gov. DeSantis Approves Funds for Workforce Education
BOWLING GREEN, Fla. (FNN) – Florida governor Ron DeSantis announced $2.3 million in funds for rapid credentialing workforce and education programs, such as Logistics and Commercial Driver Licenses (CDL), during a press conference on Thursday at the Hardee Campus at South Florida State College.
“If you look at our economy these days, a four-year university degree is not always the best way to be successful. In fact, you’ll see a lot of people go deep into debt and end up with a degree in something like zombie studies, and then they wonder why the seas won’t part with them. It’s not about having a sheet of paper, it’s about what skills you really are equipped with,” said the governor.
Rapid credentialing programs are designed to accelerate pandemic recovery for Florida residents and the state economy by increasing all of Florida’s state and technical colleges’ capacity to enroll and graduate students in short-term, in-demand, high-wage occupation and workforce programs.
“Workforce education provides a pathway for Floridians to succeed, but also helps alleviate the damage being wrought by inflation and supply chain interruptions,” said DeSantis. “We are facing supply chain shortages caused by bad federal policies and a lack of investment in workers across our country. In Florida, we are stepping up by providing support to skilled trades that are essential for a strong economy.”
The immediate collective impact is estimated to benefit 1,200 students by May of 2022 and 2,000 by August of 2022. The six institutions that will receive the funds are State College of Florida for CDL training ($930,000); Manatee Technical College for Logistics (forklift) and CDL training ($550,000); South Florida State College for CDL training ($415,000); North Florida Technical College for CDL training ($100,000); Florida Gateway College for Licensed Practical Nursing training ($135,000); and the College of Florida Keys for Licensed Practical Nursing and Surgical Technology training ($150,000).
Governor DeSantis also provided an update on his wife Casey, who just completed her first round of chemotherapy to treat breast cancer. “She’s fought very hard, we think she’s responded very well,” he said. “She ran that gauntlet, she’s doing well, and we look forward to having more good news over the next few weeks and months.” DeSantis announced his wife’s cancer in October of 2021. The couple have three young children, the youngest of which was the first baby born in the Governor’s mansion in fifty years.