Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater this week turned in his budget request for 2016-17, asking for $311.2 million.
“The agency’s most important budget priority was $45.3 million to upgrade FLAIR, the state’s three decade old accounting system,” LobbyTools reported. “The agency is in the second year of replacing FLAIR with the Florida Planning, Accounting and Ledger Management (PALM) system.”
“Our highest priority is our Florida PALM project,” department spokeswoman Ashley Carr said.
“Florida’s current accounting and cash management system (or FLAIR) processes nearly $90 billion in payments annually on a software system that is more than 30 years old,” she said. “The current system no longer meets the needs of our growing state, and it must be replaced.
“It’s been patched, updated, and modified many times over the years, but these workarounds are becoming more difficult, more expensive, and leave the state exposed to unnecessary risks,” Carr said.
State agencies and departments send in legislative budget requests, or LBRs, in advance of the regular session, when lawmakers draw up the budget for the next fiscal year.
Of the $311.2 million sought by Atwater, $50.8 million comes from general revenue and $260.4 million from various trust funds.
Atwater oversees the Department of Financial Services, which includes the state’s financial services and insurance regulators.
The department resulted from a massive reorganization of state government, caused by a change in the state constitution.
The 1998 Constitutional Revision Commission recommended combining a number of departments into one.
They included Insurance, Treasury, State Fire Marshal and Banking and Finance.
The chief financial officer “shall settle and approve accounts against the state, and shall keep all state funds and securities,” the constitution now says.
The 2016 Legislative Session begins Jan. 12.