Democrats want changes to House budget, criticizing trust fund sweeps

The $89.9 billion spending plan the House has readied for floor consideration isn’t making everyone happy.

The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday backed the chamber’s proposed budget, which totals well below the $91.3 billion spending plan Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis presented to lawmakers earlier this year and the $90.3 billion budget the Senate has pitched.

Nearly all Democrats and Republicans voted in favor of the conservative appropriations bill. But it did not pass with pure acquiescence.

Democrats on the panel criticized the House budget for sweeping money from the affordable housing trust fund. They also warned against a plan to shutter VISIT FLORIDA and expressed a need to send more funds to Florida Forever and the state’s cultural arts programs.

State Rep. Ben Diamond, a St. Petersburg Democrat, cast the lone “no” vote on the budget, now expected to pass on the floor of the House next week.

“A critical part of protecting this state’s water comes through the Florida Forever program in terms of our ability to acquire acres of land that are important to significant water bodies in our state,” Diamond said before voting.

The House proposal currently sets aside $20 million for

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