Juggling campaign demands, Florida Gov. DeSantis to unveil 2024-25 budget plan

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TALLAHASSEE – After earlier looking like Gov. Ron DeSantis' campaigning in Iowa and upcoming Republican presidential debate would keep him from personally unveiling his state budget proposal, the governor's office acknowledged he will announce the spending plan Tuesday in Southwest Florida.

No further details were immediately provided.

The governor’s office had not responded to earlier questions when asked if DeSantis was planning not to take part in the annual budget rollout, instead leaving it to staff to present the 2024-25 recommendations to Senate subcommittees this week.

Politico Florida first reported on the Southwest Florida reveal, planned for 9 a.m. Tuesday.

State law requires Florida governors to submit their budget recommendations at least 30 days before the start of the legislative session, which next year begins Jan. 9.

Senate panels were already scheduled to receive budget presentations Wednesday from the governor’s staff. That raised questions from House Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell of Tampa and legislative staff from both parties to point to the prospect of the governor planning to comply with state law – from a distance.

Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis speaks during the final event of a 99 county tour of Iowa on Saturday, December 2, 2023 in Newton.
Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis speaks during the final event of a 99 county tour of Iowa on Saturday, December 2, 2023 in Newton.

DeSantis has been campaigning in Iowa and is set Wednesday to take part in the fourth Republican presidential debate from Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Along with this week's presentation to Senate appropriations subcommittees, the governor's staff is expected to be showcase his budget recommendations next week before more Senate and House committees.

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DeSantis in June signed into law a $116.5 billion state budget after vetoing almost $511 million in programs and projects included by the Legislature.

A year earlier, he vetoed $3.13 billion from the budget approved by lawmakers. But the governor still has overwhelming support among the Republican House and Senate members, even as his presidential hopes are fading with GOP frontrunner, former President Donald Trump, holding an overwhelming lead.

The budget requirement also may not be the last date DeSantis has to juggle.

The Legislature’s opening day customarily includes the State of the State address by the governor. But this year’s Jan. 9 session kick-off comes just days before the Jan. 15 Iowa caucuses, widely seen as a make-or-break moment for DeSantis’s presidential campaign.

John Kennedy is a reporter in the USA TODAY Network’s Florida Capital Bureau. He can be reached at jkennedy2@gannett.com, or on Twitter at @JKennedyReport.

This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: DeSantis to roll out state budget while juggling campaign demands