Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday justified his decision to veto all art grants in the state in this year's budget by saying at least one of them had "sexual" content.

"You have your tax dollars being given in grants to things like the Fringe Festival, which is like a sexual festival where they're doing all this stuff," DeSantis said during a news conference, as reported by The Miami Herald. "It's like, how many of you think your tax dollars should go to fund that?" the governor added. "Not very many people would do that."

According to the outlet, the festival has editions in both Orlando and Tampa. The former has featured such content, but the Orlando Sentinel's arts writer said it was "always for a good reason and maximum comic effect." The festivals mainly feature live theater, concerts and "kid friendly shows and activities."

State Rep. Anna Eskamani, a Democrat from Orlando, told the Herald that she attended this year's festival and it wasn't sexual. "It does feature drag queens and other forms of artistic expression that DeSantis has wanted to censor despite courts telling him otherwise!" she said.

According to Politico Florida, the Orlando edition of the festival received $150,000 and the Tampa one $15,000. Overall, DeSantis' veto on art grants amounts to some $32 million. The governor's spokespeople didn't answer questions about which events at the festival were sexual or if he was also making reference to others.

Many other entities and organizations will be affected by the decision. "Something like this could literally be the death knell for some organizations, and succeed in doing what COVID could not," the executive director of the Symphony of the Americas, Steven Haines, told the Sun Sentinel.

Bari Newport, from GableStage, told Axios that the funding will fall heavily on Miami-Dade, one of the largest funders for arts in the country. "Many of these arts and cultural institutions are already relying heavily on the county to exist," she said.

Overall, the veto cuts $6.5 million for the county, impacting more than 120 organizations, including the opera, theaters and art museums. At a state level the figure tops 600.

The decision is part of a larger set of vetoes from the state's annual budget, which overall amount to some $900 million. Another scratched item that made the headlines was a program seeking to provide free tampons and pads in public schools.

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