TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Local groups that were affected by Governor Ron DeSantis’ approval of the largest state budget yet are now reacting.
Governor DeSantis signed the state’s 2021 fiscal budget on Wednesday, totaling $101.5 billion.READ MORE: Sarasota County Sheriff's Office Received Funding For A High Visibility Enforcement Initiative
While some groups saw an increase in money from the budget, others did not. Feed Tampa Bay lost $400,000 that was supposed to expand their career readiness program, and now they are going to have to find other ways to pay for it.
Thomas Mantz, CEO of Feeding Tampa Bay says “We think it’s a good idea. We would have loved the governor to have supported it. We felt like we had legislative support, but the governor chose to go in a different direction, which is his prerogative.”
Mantz says following the pandemic, he was really hoping the state would give his organization the $400,000 it asked for in the 2021 state budget.
“We’ve needed to significantly increase our response, so we’ve provided more meals more ways over the last 15 months than we have in the history of our organization,” said Mantz.
He says the money was supposed to go towards a program that helps people train to get good jobs for free, especially after the unemployment rate skyrocketed over the last year.
“People were affected by not having a job, losing a job, losing a career,” said Mantz.
He says the $400,000 would have paid for Feeding Tampa Bay to accept 25 more people into the FreshForce program.
“We still think it’s a good idea and we still think people in our community are going to support us,” said Mantz.READ MORE: Polk County School Cafeteria Worker Arrested for Murdering Boyfriend
Another organization that saw a big cut was the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority.
Chris Jadick, spokesperson for TBARTA says “It is disappointing what the governor did, but we are encouraged the state legislature saw the value that TBARTA provides.”
He says the organization has money for the next year, but after that, the future is unknown.
“The $1.5 million request is for operations for staff and staff salaries,” said Jadick.
On the other hand, $100 million from the state budget was allocated to help with cleanup of Piney Point.
Dr. Scott Hopes, Manatee County Administrator, says the money will be used for “Treating the water that’s on site, to de-water the phosphogypsum stacks, and then to close those stacks.”
Dr. Hopes says he’s glad the governor prioritized Piney Point.
“The community and Northern Manatee County is still at risk as long as there is wastewater in those phosphogypsum stacks,” said Dr. Hopes.MORE NEWS: Man Taken Into Custody After Barricading Himself Inside His Home
The budget goes into effect July 1.