Each year following the spring legislative session, Florida TaxWatch releases its list of what it calls "budget turkeys."

The group this year hung the moniker on 109 appropriations worth $133 million in local projects that it says should be cut from the state budget.

TaxWatch makes it clear budget turkeys have nothing to do with the worthiness of any of the projects — only the way they made it to DeSantis’ desk. Most of these were inserted into the budget as 11th-hour supplemental funding while the House and Senate settled their budget differences. They weren’t properly vetted, TaxWatch says.

Its website lists the budget turkey criteria including:

• A project that circumvents established review and selection processes or has completed the established process but is funded ahead of much higher priority projects (as determined by the selection process);

• Appropriations that are inserted in the budget during conference committee meetings, meaning they did not appear in either the final Senate or House budgets; and/or

• Appropriations from inappropriate trust funds; duplicative appropriations; and appropriations contingent on legislation that did not pass.

TaxWatch notes that this year the "budget turkeys" are more costly than turkeys prior to the tighter appropriations rules. While last year TaxWatch identified 87 appropriations totaling $147.5 million, this year the Senate sprinkled in 127 items worth $153 million, while the House accounted for 110 items totaling $136 million. These are called "member" projects — meaning House and Senate members. "This means," TaxWatch wrote, "$289.7 million in hard-earned taxpayer dollars were spent as almost an afterthought, after all the various budget areas had been ‘closed-out.’"

TaxWatch reports the money for the LGPA tournament was among the projects funded in Housing and Community Development, "a member project funding mechanism in need of a more formal selection process."

In all, it’s not as bad as it sounds, and we may be part of the problem — leaning on local representatives to push through projects we need or want. And they can say they tried, which they do. Don’t we all support lawmakers who "bring home the bacon?"

These "turkey" designations may or may not affect those bills signed or vetoed by Gov. DeSantis. We’ll have to wait and see.

 

Kudos to FSU band

Congratulations to the Florida State University Marching Chiefs, which was the only American collegiate marching band to participate in the commemorative activities held in Normandy, France, to observe the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

What a great honor for the band to be on hand to commemorate such a major moment of the 20th century — the Allied invasion of northern France on June 6, 1944, which eventually led to the liberation of France from Nazi Germany and helped bring about the end of World War II one year later.