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Southwest Florida arts community shocked by $32 million veto by DeSantis

The vetoed funding was part of a sweeping $950 million in funds and grants that were slashed by DeSantis.
Posted at 4:59 PM, Jun 25, 2024

Leaders in southwest Florida’s arts and culture community say they’re shocked and outraged after expected funds were vetoed by the Governor.

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

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

"We're all scrambling," said Molly Rowan-Deckart, Executive Director of Alliance for the Arts.

"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 in funding this year.

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

“Without this support, we are now facing the harsh reality of having to scale back our offerings,” said Rowan-Deckart.

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

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

Fox 4 reached out to the Governor’s office for comment, we have not heard back.

In previous reporting about vetoes to the state budget, the Governor’s office said the cuts were made “in the best interest of the state of Florida.”