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Gov. DeSantis says 'sexual festivals' are the reason he vetoed all arts funding

Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed all of Florida’s arts and culture grants planned in the 2024-25 budget, $32 million in all.
Posted at 10:06 PM, Jul 03, 2024

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA — Gov. Ron DeSantis has defended vetoing nearly all of the state’s allocated money to the arts, more than $32 million, saying the money was supporting sexual-themed festivals.

The vetoed funding was part of a sweeping $950 million in funds and grants that were slashed by DeSantis.

“When I see money being spent that way, I have to be the one who stands up for taxpayers and says, ‘you know what, that is an inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars.'"

Governor Ron DeSantis

DeSantis also urged the legislature to re-evaluate how arts grants are awarded.

Meantime, Leaders in southwest Florida’s arts and culture community told FOX 4 they were shocked and outraged after expected funds were vetoed by the Governor.

WATCH how locals initially reacted to the Governor's veto on June 25:

ARTS FUNDING VETOS

Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed all of Florida’s arts and culture grants planned in the 2024-25 budget, $32 million in all.

"We've never not received funding."

Molly Rowan-Deckart is the Executive Director of Alliance for the Arts.

“We’ve never not received funding. Our funding has fluctuated, but to have zero? This is very short sighted,” said Rowan-Deckart.

"I think arts organizations across the state are grappling with who gets cut? What gets cut? How does this affect my community?"

Rowan-Deckart says the Alliance for the Arts was expecting $131,000 this year.

Statewide, the arts and culture industries contribute nearly $3 billion to the Florida economy.

In all, 577 arts programs were impacted by the vetoes.

A recent study found in 2022, the arts contributed $135.3 million in economic activity in Lee County alone, along with more than 2,500 jobs.

“It means business. People take it as a handout. But it’s not,” said Rowan-Deckart.