Gov. DeSantis Vetoes $3.1 Billion From Florida’s Budget Including $35 Million for Baseball Facility After Gun Control Tweets
The governor cracks down on state spending
On June 3, just a day after signing Florida’s ‘Freedom First’ budget, Governor Ron DeSantis took to Twitter to declare how he’d removed $3.1 billion of unnecessary expenditure from it. Included within the items that were cut, many of which were included on a so-called ‘sprinkle list’ of expenditures which were included in the budget late in the budgeting process and which could be vetoed by the governor.
One of these items was the proposal to use $35 million of state funds to build a baseball training and youth tournament complex that was also to be used for Tampa Bay Rays spring training. Many had called into question whether it was appropriate use of state funds, and the governor has seen fit to veto the expenditure. But it may not be simply because he has issue with using the money in this way.
Instead, there’s a suspicion that the governor has been motivated by a series of tweets made by the Rays regarding gun control in the aftermath of recent mass shootings in Buffalo, NY and Uvalde, TX.
The Rays donate to gun violence prevention organization
The tweet in question was issued from the Rays official account in the aftermath of the shootings, and within it the team announced a donation to an organization called Everytown which is raising a gun safety support fund.
Amongst Everytown’s ideas to end gun violence in America, advertised on its own website are measures to conduct background checks on all gun sales, to mandate secure gun storage and to stop arming teachers. Whilst it is down to each individual as to whether they feel such measures are sensible or an infringement of constitutional rights to own and carry guns, they clearly sit at odds with the sentiments of many Republicans.
It seems likely therefore that this could have contributed to the governor’s decision to stop the funding for a baseball facility that would have benefited the Rays. To fund it might have been interpreted as an unofficial endorsement of their position by the governor, sitting at odds with his previously stated intention of pushing for constitutional carry of guns in Florida before the end of his time as governor.
Constitutional carry in Florida
While the governor renewed his commitment to pushing to legalize constitutional carry of handguns in Florida before the most recent spate of mass-shootings in the U.S., it would seem that he’s still mindful of the importance of meeting the expectations of gun owning voters in Florida.
If the recent tweet by the Rays has been material in his decision to pull funding of their baseball training facility then it could signal where his priorities lay — gun ownership and constitutional rights ahead of winning popularity with sports teams and their fans.
Besides from the controversy surrounding the pulling of $35 million from the Rays, Floridians will presumably be pleased that the governor appears to be exercising financial prudence in how he manages the state’s money. What they may well be hoping to see now is rapid steps of action that help average Floridians to cope with the cost of living crisis gripping the state.
Many are struggling to afford rent, to put food on their tables and to pay the extortionate gas prices — hopefully some of the $3 billion saved by the governor can be diverted to help people on the street!
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