In advance of the 2019 Legislative Session, Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing a record budget for the next fiscal year.
DeSantis unveiled the $91.3 billion spending plan on Friday. It’s the largest budget ever proposed in state history.
The “Bold Vision for a Brighter Future” plan will serve as a template for lawmakers to craft their own budget during the upcoming Legislative Session.
DeSantis called the proposal “aspirational but also attainable.” He said the proposal uses taxpayer dollars “wisely” and is aimed at benefitting “as many people as possible.”
Included in the budget is $335 million worth of tax cuts. That figure is largely made up of $289.7 in savings stemming from a proposed property tax millage drop of 0.157 in the required local effort in the Florida Education Finance Program.
Two sales-tax holidays for families are expected to combine for $45.3 million in additional tax relief. That figure comes from a three-day back-to-school sales tax break ($39.5 million) and a week-long disaster preparedness holiday ($5.9 million).
On the environment, DeSantis is recommending $625 million for Everglades restoration and resource protection. An investment of that each year would result in $2.5 billion by the time DeSantis is up for re-election.
With respect to education, DeSantis wants an increase in per-student funding by $7,653, or $224 more than last year. The base student allocation grows by $50 per student. In total, DeSantis is recommending $21.7 billion for the Florida Education Finance Program.
DeSantis is proposing to fully fund the affordable housing trust funds. Lawmakers in recent years have raided the pool — known as the Sadowski Trust — to finance other projects.
Today I am releasing my budget proposal for fiscal year 2019-2020 which affords me an opportunity to share a Bold Vision for a Brighter Future with all Floridians.
How we spend reflects on how we serve. I am announcing a $91.3 billion budget proposal that is aspirational but also attainable. My budget also recommends $335 million in tax cuts, including Back to School Disaster Preparedness Tax Holidays.
Saving is as critical as spending. My administration will set aside $5.2 billion in reserves including $1.6 billion in the Budget Stabilization Fund.
Beyond the $360 million for Everglades restoration I have already outlined, I am recommending a $154 million investment in our prized properties, including $100 million for Florida Forever and $54 million to improve our state parks.
In K-12 public schools, we propose a doubling of last year’s per student funding ($101 to $224) for a total of $21.7 billion. I also propose an increase of $50 million in the Safe Schools Allocation, as well as an additional $10 million for mental health in our schools.
School safety is an ever-increasing priority, so within our budget I am proposing $510 million in infrastructure construction and maintenance, including nearly $100 million to fund School Safety Grants to keep our students safe.
Our Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget puts hurricane recovery at the forefront. We propose $271 million necessary for matching federal funds for federally declared disasters, a total of $1.9 billion.
Florida’s Panhandle residents, those in Florida Keys or other areas impacted by natural disasters, will not be forgotten. My budget outlines $765 million to address housing and job training in recovery zones.
Lack of affordable housing is an issue for Florida communities and impacts working families. I intend to fully fund Workforce and Affordable Housing programs at $338 million.
Addiction relief and mental health are top priorities, which is why we are proposing $84.6 million to address the opioid epidemic gripping our state, as well as an additional $25.7 million to the investment last year for mental health needs.
Our transportation infrastructure is not keeping up with demand. I propose to fund the State Transportation Work Program at $9.92 billion which will improve highways, bridges, airports, and seaports.
I want to offer a bold approach that leaves no stone unturned for the safety and well-being of our children, so we are proposing $73.6 million for child welfare programs and $30.7 million in adoption subsidies and post-adoption services.
I look forward to working with the Legislature in the coming weeks. Together, we can empower Floridians and inspire their confidence by being responsible with their money, deliver necessary services and get government out of the way in the pursuit of their dreams.
The proposed 363-page budget is below: