State wage hike with veto on food bank expansion

Governor Ron DeSantis announces his draft state budget for 2022-23 on Capitol Hill on December 9, 2021.

Local lawmakers, lobbyists and labor leaders said the $109 billion state budget Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law on Thursday is a mixed success for Tallahassee and Leon County.

The celebration of a historic 5.3% wage increase for state employees and a new $15 minimum wage for state employees was partly eclipsed Friday morning by the $1 million vetoes earmarked for the second Big Bend crop and a $50,000 appropriation for the Leon Works exhibit and junior apprenticeship program.

After:What was cut from Florida’s budget? Search Governor DeSantis Veto List

“It’s a bit overwhelming. The two things that get vetoes are food and jobs,” said Jeff Sharkey of the Capitol Alliance Group, Leon County lobbyist at the state capitol. “There really aren’t any bigger issues than food and jobs, so that’s disappointing.”

Although the longtime lobbyist was quick to add that the pay rise “is huge” for the region.

The Leon Works Expo connects young people to job opportunities. It also receives funding from Tallahassee and Leon Schools.

Representative Ramon Alexander, Senator Loranne Ausley, Representative Jason Shoaf and Representative Allison Tant make up the Leon County Legislative Delegation.

State Rep. Allison Tant, D-Tallahassee, reviewed DeSantis’ 12-page veto list that totaled more than $3 billion, saw the two local projects that were scrapped, and said that “in the together Leon County has done well.”

Tant also found Second Harvest’s veto disappointing.

The food bank serves 17 North Florida counties and planned to use the money to buy delivery vans and refrigeration equipment.

“Feeding America is looking to expand Second Harvest’s service area with mobile food pantries in food desert neighborhoods,” said Tant, who submitted the project application.

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