Ron DeSantis vetoes $35 million for a Tampa Bay Rays practice facility after the team tweeted about gun violence
The Florida Governor has been accused of vetoing the funding proposals due to the team’s public calls for greater gun control legislation.
Florida baseball team Tampa Bay Rays have had their attempts to procure state funding for a new training facility blocked by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Local officials had hoped that the $35 million investment in the sports training and youth sports complex in Pasco County would provide a boost to the local community, but DeSantis has used his line-item veto powers to block the funding.
CNN report that DeSantis’ refusal is based in part on a tweet posted by the team in the aftermath of the massacre at Robb Elementary school, which appeared to call for a change to gun laws.
“This cannot be normal,” the tweet read. “We cannot become numb. We cannot look the other way. We all know, if nothing changes, nothing changes.”
The GOP Governor claimed that he vetoed the funding because “I don’t support giving taxpayer dollars to professional sports stadiums.” However a source close to the decision-making process has claimed that DeSantis had not made up his mind until the Rays’ public stand against gun violence. The team has also announced a $50,000 donation to Everytown for Gun Safety, an advocacy organisation which pushes policy-makers to tackle gun violence.
DeSantis has a record of punishing political opponents
The repercussions for Tampa Bay Rays could deprive them of a training centre for the immediate future, and it is not the first time that Gov. DeSantis has been accused of using his influence to punish political opponents.
In April he signed a raft of laws into law, two of which targeted Disney’s self-governing status in the area around its flagship Orlando theme park. The company’s special status had been in place for nearly 55 years, established in the Reedy Creek Improvement Act.
It has been alleged that Disney’s vocal opposition to DeSantis’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ laws had earnt the company political retaliation from the Governor’s office. The Parental Rights in Education bill bans the discussion of gender and issues relating to sexuality with younger students.
The bill was passed in a 22-17 vote in the GOP-controlled Florida Senate but Disney quickly released a statement saying it would fight the legislation.
“Florida’s HB 1557, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, should never have passed and should never have been signed into law,” the statement read. “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that.”