Senate president steers $331 million to agriculture. He might get to spend it, too.
Republican Senate President Wilton Simpson wants to be the next Florida agriculture commissioner, and he is using his power over the $105 billion state budget to give the agency a gift: $331 million in new spending. But it also comes with a catch: It can’t be spent until after the election. The money — $300 million for land acquisition, plus aerial drones, agriculture promotion and new jobs — must be held in reserve and not used by Nikki Fried, the current agriculture commissioner who is a Democratic candidate for governor.