Gov. Ron DeSantis’ veto pen came down hard on Tampa Bay Watch, one of St. Petersburg’s biggest losers in the 2019-2020 state budget.
The marine environment and water quality nonprofit was slated to get $1 million for its Shell Key Access and Water Quality Program, but that line item was slashed Friday when DeSantis signed the nearly $91 billion budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.
Tampa Bay Watch had originally requested $1.5 million for the program.
The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority also missed out on $500,000 for an Intelligent Transportation System Upgrade. Such systems help traffic move smoother and includes things like traffic light prioritization for buses, timed traffic lights to keep up with traffic flow and, in some cases, connected vehicle technology that allows vehicles to digitally communicate with transportation infrastructure.
DeSantis vetoed $250,000 for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Tampa Bay shelter expansion plan.
Ruth Eckerd Hall won’t get the $500,000 it requested in the budget for its Expanding the Experience capital campaign. That $34 million project will expand several parts of the facility including by expanding its Great Lobby by six times and including floor to ceiling windows.
The Carter G. Woodson African American History Museum also missed out in what has been a roller coaster of a budget year for the nonprofit in Tallahassee. The group scored a last-minute win when $300,000 was added back into the state budget by lawmakers. Of that, $250,000 made it to DeSantis’ desk.
DeSantis vetoed the final offer.
“A lot of people put a lot of hard work into this. The Mayor is disappointed but not surprised at the veto of the Woodson Museum funding. It appears there are a lot of vetoes from the Governor,” St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman spokesperson Ben Kirby said.