With much of the state still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, two Republican legislators are making a promise to Floridians still struggling to get back on their feet.
As Florida lawmakers gather this week in Tallahassee to welcome incoming freshman officials, recently re-elected State Representatives Spencer Roach and Anthony Sabatini are getting a head start on the upcoming 2021 Legislative Session, announcing that they will not file appropriation bills with people still facing economic hardships in the Sunshine State.
Roach, a retired Coast Guard Jag officer, was the first Republican to take the pledge last week. He said he made the choice based on his conservative foundation and promise to not raise taxes on the voters who elected him.
“We will not increase taxes to supplement lost revenue. We will not ask the federal government to bail us out,” Roach said. “Over 1.3 million unemployed Floridians face impossible decisions between mortgages, utility bills, and for some, food. We will tighten our belts like Florida families have been forced to do by scrutinizing every dollar in the state budget.
“I was elected as a fiscal conservative and I intend to govern that way. I will not file any appropriation bills and I hope my colleagues follow suit. We should prioritize the healthcare, education, and public safety of our children and service for the most vulnerable – not pork projects for members,” he continued.
Sabatini, a Howey-in-the-Hills Republican, joined his colleague on Monday, citing the need to reduce government spending to help Floridians recover from the economic fallout brought on by COVID-19.
“I will be joining my colleague, Representative Spencer Roach, in making a commitment to NOT file any member appropriation bills,” Sabatini said. “What Florida needs now more than ever before, is less government and less taxes. The best way to do this is to ensure that all requests for more government spending are totally eliminated.”
This session, I’m joining my colleague @SpencerRoachFL in making a commitment to NOT file any appropriation bills. What FL needs now more than ever, is less government and less taxes. The best way to do this is to ensure that all requests for more government are ELIMINATED. pic.twitter.com/heA4qg9rYo
— Rep. Anthony Sabatini (@AnthonySabatini) November 16, 2020
Since 2017, members of the Florida House have had the ability to file an unlimited number of appropriations project bills to provide state funding for projects they deem important. These project bills are the primary method by which House members seek individual line items within the state budget.
Since their inception, more than 2,600 projects have been funded, costing taxpayers $2.2 billion. The current $92.2 billion budget signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis allocated $474.7 million for such member projects.
Roach, who represents House District 79, says he hopes that his leadership on the issue will help set a precedent that other members of the House will take up.