Agencies present budget requests for next year

money-shot balanced budget

State agencies on Friday presented their financial needs for next fiscal year in a series of public hearings at the Capitol.

Executive-branch departments and others send in legislative budget requests, or LBRs, in advance of the regular session, when lawmakers draw up the budget for the next fiscal year.

The 2016 Legislative Session begins Jan. 12.

Here are highlights from Friday’s presentations:

♦ The Department of Financial Services under Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater is asking for a total of $311.2 million for 2016-17.

Highest on the wish list is about $45 million for ongoing technology needs.

It has to maintain FLAIR, the state’s 30-year-old accounting system, and is working on replacing it with the Florida Planning, Accounting and Ledger Management system, or PALM.

Spokeswoman Ashley Carr previously told the department must process nearly $90 billion in payments every year, and FLAIR is no longer meeting that need.

“It’s been patched, updated, and modified many times over the years, but these workarounds are becoming more difficult (and) more expensive,” Carr said.

The Department of Lottery requested $176.5 million, including $761,000 for a new sales incentive plan, $948,000 for new computer equipment, and $70,000 for an updated email archiving system.

Agencies must save their incoming and outgoing emails because they generally are public records open for inspection.

♦ The new Agency for State Technology asked for $72.7 million to oversee the executive branch’s information technology systems.

It oversees a central “state data center,” which needs $297,000, and network security takes another $772,000.

♦ The Department of Business and Professional Regulation wants $152.7 million in total for 2016-17.

That includes asks of $400,000 to fund the fight against unlicensed real estate activity and $1.9 million to boost hotel and restaurant inspections.

State law provides for “at least one public hearing prior to submission of budget recommendations to the Legislature on issues contained in agency legislative budget requests.”

Friday’s hearings were held in the middle of the latest Special Session on Senate redistricting, though nearly all lawmakers already have left Tallahassee for the weekend.

A previously scheduled legislative committee week also is on for next week.


Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at [email protected]


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