The Phoenix Flyer

Turkey, pork, bringing home the bacon: Lawmakers push millions in state budget for constituents

By: - April 25, 2023 7:05 pm

Florida’s Old Capitol and New Capitol, viewed from the Leon County Courthouse on March 21, 2022. Credit: Michael Moline

It’s about this time of the year, when the Legislature is crafting Florida’s massive state budget and lawmakers are positioning to get thousands to millions into the budget for their constituents. The local projects are often called turkeys, pork, pet projects or bringing home the bacon.

Over the years, the process has raised questions about how much state money should be used for pet projects that could be financed by local governments. But lawmakers continue the effort.

This year, the budget documents for 2023-24 show that both the House and Senate have pushed for billions for their constituents.

The Senate’s original list added up to about 2,250 local projects at a whopping $5.6 billion.

The House’s original list was about 2,300 projects, adding up to about $5.4-billion.

Those local projects can be everything from museums, soccer and football fields, after school programs, libraries and community centers, water main projects and wastewater treatment facilities – often with a big price tag.

As always, the initial lists of projects will shrink as budget negotiators begin reviewing which local projects will ultimately get funding in the state budget.

That’s happening right now in the state Capitol.

And for the most part, the local projects will be considered transparent in Florida’s state budget. That’s because the budget includes a designation for the local projects. In the language of the state budget, there’s an HF or SF, following four numbers.

Stay tuned. Lawmakers are still working on the 2023-24 state budget, though it is supposed to be finished in early May.

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Diane Rado
Diane Rado

Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.