$116.5 billion Florida budget approved, over $50 million of northeast projects vetoed

JACKSONVILLE, Fla, — $116.5 billion: that’s the total price tag on the 2024 annual state budget signed by Governor Ron DeSantis Wednesday, and the budget includes record funding in several categories.

It includes a record $28.4 billion for K-12 education, including $1.25 billion for teacher pay raises and $360 million for school safety.

There’s also $5.8 billion for higher education with $100 million for faculty recruitment and retention.

A record $15.5 billion for transportation infrastructure also made the cut, along with $1.5 billion for the environment.

The record spending comes despite a slightly lower overall price tag on the budget compared to last year.


Even with the lower overall price tag, legislators managed to include $1.5 billion for tax relief and grow the budget surplus to $17 billion.

“We are providing historic support for education, historic support for conservation and environment and protecting natural resources, historic support for transportation and infrastructure and major tax relief, all the while the budget is actually spending less than we did last year. Aren’t you happy to see that?” DeSantis said.

In order to trim the budget down, the Governor had to slice nearly $1 billion from the budget passed by the legislature.

Of the $950 million vetoed from this year’s state budget, Action News Jax has identified at least 39 projects totaling more than $53 million in Nassau, Clay, Baker, Columbia, St. Johns, Putnam, Bradford, and Duval Counties that were slashed.

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Among them were two of the City of Jacksonville’s three main budget requests: $500 for a pedestrian signal at near First Coast High School and $1 million for intersection improvements at Johnson and Dunn Avenue.

“He tries to punish communities that do not necessarily agree with him,” State Representative Angie Nixon (D-Jacksonville) said.

Nixon was also disappointed to see a combined $5.7 million nixed for nursing programs at JU and FSCJ.

“There’s a nursing shortage in our state!” Nixon said.

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The biggest single item here in Northeast Florida we identified on the veto list: $7.5 million requested to pay for a Central Public Safety Station in St. Johns County.

Some budget victories include $75 million for the planned UF campus downtown and $577,500 for a new JSO mobile command center.

“The mobile investigative command vehicle will significantly improve our agency’s capabilities when conducting investigations and responding to critical incidents,” Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said in a statement.

There’s also $2 million for a seawall at Fernandina Beach and $400,000 for a regional K-9 training facility in Nassau.

“And that’s going to help law enforcement, not just all over this region, but throughout the State of Florida,” State Representative Dean Black (R-Yulee) said.

Additionally, Ascension St. Vincent’s Nurse Residency Program scored just shy of $580,000, Ocearch Mayport Research and Operations Center secured $3.5 million and UNF got $40.2 million for its support and academic building.

MOSH’s Genesis Project received $5 million and City Rescue on McDuff got $4 million.

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Black said it’s not entirely clear how the region fared overall yet, but he expects it came out with a net-win.

And he argued while veto-season may be painful, the $17 billion now in state reserves will ensure Florida can weather any crisis that comes its way.

“And we can all Monday morning quarterback them, but overall, the fiscal health of Florida is sound,” Black said.

The biggest single item here in Northeast Florida we identified on the veto list: $7.5 million requested to pay for a Central Public Safety Station in St. Johns County.

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Here’s a full breakdown of the Northeast Florida projects we identified on the veto list:

  • Florida State College at Jacksonville - Nursing Program Facilities: $2.8 million
  • Jacksonville University GROW Florida Nurses Program: $2.9 million
  • Growing Green Jobs Jacksonville: $482,500
  • Coalition for the Homeless of Nassau County: $17,750
  • Clay Behavioral Health Center - Accessibility Project: $125,000
  • Historic Eastside Community Preventive Mental Health and Wellness Initiative: $100,000
  • Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center - Girl Matters: Continuity of Care: $500,000
  • The Boselli Foundation Mentorship Program: $303,800
  • Atlantic Beach Dune Protection and Beach Access Improvement: $250,000
  • Atlantic Beach Marshside Septic Tank Eliminatio: $312,500
  • Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Florida Camp Deep Pond: $500,000
  • Clay County Utility Authority Operational Technology, Supervisory Control and
  • Data Acquisition and Cybersecurity Improvements: $1 million
  • Neptune Beach Stormwater Improvement: $500,000
  • St. Augustine - West Augustine Septic to Sewer 24/25 Four Mile Road Area: $5 million
  • St. Augustine Beach Mickler Boulevard Ditch Erosion Mitigation/Infrastructure
  • Resiliency: $3,863,128
  • St. Augustine Beach Mizell Stormwater Treatment Facility Improvements: $2 million
  • Green Cove Springs - Spring Park Shoreline Resiliency Project: $425,000
  • CR 108 Extension - Nassau County: $3.7 million
  • CR 209 Safety Improvements - Clay County: $1.5 million
  • CR 217 Bridge Safety Improvements and Replacement - Clay County: $2.5 million
  • CR 218 Extend 4 Lane Road - Clay County: $1.5 million
  • CR 220 Extension - Clay County: $1.5 million
  • First Coast High School Pedestrian Signal: $500,000
  • Historic Vilano Beach Main Street Improvement: $125,000
  • Jacksonville SR 104 (Dunn Ave.) at V.C. Johnson Rd.- Intersection Improvements: $1 million
  • JAXPORT Crane Modernization Program: $3 million
  • NW Bell Street Extension - Columbia County: $500,000
  • St. Johns Power Park Regional Economic Transformation and Connection- Transportation Study: $500,000
  • State Road 16 Extension - Clay County: $750,000
  • Jax Youth Exposure - Youth Entrepreneurship Program: $21,500
  • Baker Fire District Air Compressor/Purifier: $70,000
  • Baker Fire District Tanker: $250,000
  • Clay County Fire Station #2: $750,000
  • St Johns - Central Public Safety Station: $7.5 million
  • Nassau County 911 Console Replacements: $375,000
  • tag! Children’s Museum of St. Augustine: $1.75 million
  • The Arc of Bradford County Work Opportunities Expansion: $500,000
  • Putnam County Waste Water Treatment Expansion: $4.2 million

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