Tallahassee, Fla. – On February 4, Governor Ron DeSantis released his budget proposal for fiscal year 2019-2020, a Bold Vision for a Brighter Future.
“Today I released my budget proposal for fiscal year 2019-2020 which not only satisfies a statutory requirement, it affords an opportunity to share a Bold Vision for a Brighter Future with my colleagues in the Legislature,” said Governor DeSantis. “My $91.3 billion budget proposal is aspirational yet attainable and recommends $335 million in tax cuts for Floridians. How we spend reflects how we serve and the people of Florida should be served by leaders who spend with fiscal restraint while addressing the pressing issues facing our state.”
Tax Relief for Florida Families
The recommended budget amounts to a total of $91.3 billion, including $335 million in tax cuts for Florida families as well as a property tax cut of nearly $300 million. The proposal also includes the continuation of the highly successful 3-day back-to-school sales tax holiday, as well as the weeklong disaster preparedness sales tax holiday, for a total tax cut of $45.3 million.
The proposal does not include another reduction to the corporate tax rate, since current law provides for an automatic reduction based on a higher Florida corporate tax liability as a result of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Based on recent consensus estimates, the rate would be automatically reduced from 5.5% to 5.431% for taxable year 2019. The intention will be to continue whatever rate reduction is implemented based on actual collections in FY 2018-19.
The budget sets aside $5.2 billion in reserves, including $1.6 billion in the Budget Stabilization Fund.
Achieving More Now for Florida’s Environment
The budget includes $625 million for Everglades restoration and protection of Florida’s valuable water resources. By investing $625 million each year, more than $2.5 billion will be invested by the end of Governor DeSantis’ first term.
The budget recommends a $154 million investment in Florida’s prized properties, including $100 million for Florida Forever through the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), with a focus on protecting water resources, and $54 million to improve Florida’s award-winning state park system.
Governor DeSantis has already announced the Chief Resiliency Officer that will be housed in the Executive Officer of the Governor and in addition, the budget recommends $6 million for DEP’s Florida Resilient Coastline Program to help Florida’s communities prepare for these impacts.
A Bold Vision for a World-Class Education System
In K-12 public schools, the proposal includes a doubling of last years per student funding ($101 to $224) for a total of $21.7 billion. It also proposes an increase of $50 million in the Safe Schools Allocation, as well as an additional $10 million for mental health care in Florida’s schools.
The budget proposes spending $423 million for a new initiative that will help recruit and retain great teachers and principals. This will replace the existing Best and Brightest Program. More details on this will be available in the coming weeks.
The budget is asking for $10 million to train more computer science teachers and another $10 million to fund the Pathways to a Career Opportunity Grants that will place students in apprenticeships and on-the-job training programs. The proposal also requests $26 million for the Work Florida Initiative to be sure that students in our state college system are following a path that leads to the jobs of tomorrow.
For colleges and universities, the budget proposes an increase of $30 million each for performance funding in the Florida College System and the State University System. Florida’s institutions of higher learning must be focused on keeping students’ best interests front and center.
Regarding education facilities, the proposal includes $510 million in infrastructure construction and maintenance. This includes nearly $100 million ($98.9 million) to fund School Safety Grants that will be used by school districts to improve the security of K-12 school buildings.
A Bold Vision for Hurricane Recovery
The Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget puts hurricane recovery at the forefront, proposing to spend $271 million necessary for matching federal funds for federally declared disasters, representing a total of $1.9 billion. Additionally, the budget outlines $765 million to address housing and job training needs in recovery zones.
A Bold Vision for Infrastructure and Workforce
The lack of affordable housing is an issue for Florida’s communities and impacts many working families. Governor DeSantis intends to fully fund Workforce and Affordable Housing programs at $338 million. The proposal includes $95 million for the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) program and $242 million for the State Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP) program. These programs are intended to help Floridians live closer to where they work. If this request is honored by the Legislature, this would be the first time in over a decade (FY 2007-08) that these programs have been fully funded.
It also stands to reason that if Floridians cannot access transportation options with ease, the ability to move people and goods is impaired. That is why the recommended budget proposes to fund the State Transportation Work Program at $9.92 billion, which will improve Florida’s highways, bridges, airports and seaports, as well as $667 million to support public transportation programs.
The budget recommends funding the Job Growth Grant Fund program at the current level of $85 million, as well as $76 million to fund Visit Florida’s broad-based marketing initiatives on behalf of the state.
A Bold Vision for Safe Communities
There’s a reason Florida’s crime rate is at a 47-year low– and the credit rests squarely with the men and women in law enforcement who keep Florida’s communities safe and secure.
Keeping pace with the technology that helps draw the net on criminal activity, the budget proposes over $16 million to expand and enhance the databases law enforcement needs, including $1.5 million to complete the upgrades to the Sexual Offender and Predator Registry, as well as $1.2 million to complete the DNA database expansion.
The proposal also includes $14.5 million to make repairs and renovations to both correction and juvenile facilities, ensuring better provision for the safety of our officers. For juvenile justice, the budget recommends $11.8 million to improve residential programs for at-risk youth, and another $12.4 million for prevention programs.
A Bold Vision for Election Security
Faith needs to be restored in the election system in Florida, which is why Governor DeSantis is recommending $12.2 million for state-level election oversight with an eye toward cybersecurity enhancements. No Floridian should doubt the security of their vote.
A Bold Vision for Addiction Relief and Mental Health
There is no doubt that an opioid crisis is gripping Florida and under the DeSantis Administration, there will be no letting up as the proposal includes $84.6 million in funding to address the opioid epidemic in Florida’s communities.
The Florida Legislature made a substantial investment last year in mental health care, and Governor DeSantis is asking for an additional $25.7 million for mental health needs, especially funds to expand support for children and youth who are in crisis. That’s in addition to the $10 million increase in the mental health funding for schools.
A Bold Vision for Protecting Our Most Vulnerable
The budget includes $73.6 million for child welfare programs – especially for foster parents who are the core of our child welfare system and invests $30.7 million in adoption subsidies and post adoption services.
Governor DeSantis is asking for $3 million to reduce the Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative Waitlist to provide respite service to caregivers of Alzheimer’s and other memory disorder patients, as well as proposing $5 million to provide adult day care services through the Community Care for the Elderly Program.
The proposal includes an additional $40.4 million to fund additional individuals in the iBudget waiver program administered by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD).
The budget provides $3.6 million in new funding for services and placement of commercially sexually exploited youth. Additionally, it includes $4.2 million for the recurring budget for the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Attorney General for children victimized by traffickers.
As a veteran himself, Governor DeSantis wants to ensure that Florida is keeping its commitment to the men and women who kept theirs. To that end, the proposal commits to spend over $10 million towards the Ardie Copas State Veterans Nursing Home in St. Lucie County and the Lake Baldwin State Veterans Nursing Home in Orange County – adding to the network of nursing home facilities around the state that operates specifically in support of Florida’s veterans.
For more details on Governor DeSanits’ Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget, please visit www.boldvisionforabrighterfuture.com