House approps panel mulls Ron DeSantis budget
Ron DeSantis wants more teacher pay in new budget. Senate budget committee discussed Thursday.

The pitch: the lowest spending increases in almost a decade.

Gov. Ron DeSantis stressed the conservatism of his “bolder, brighter, betterbudget proposal last month, and House Speaker José Oliva responded in kind.

Oliva said the budget pitch was “most encouraging … his commitment to responsible spending is crystal clear. A solid base upon which to begin our budget discussions.”

However, Oliva also noted discomfort with the “teacher pay proposal,” the first salvo in what will be a protracted period of negotiation this winter.

The House Appropriations Committee, which contemplated the proposal Tuesday, will be a battleground on this front.

DeSantis policy director Chris Spencer offered a high level overview of the $91.4 billion budget, the “smallest increase year over year over the past eight fiscal years.”

Spencer noted robust reserves ($5.56 billion, an “increase over the current year’s reserves”), without the annual tradition to sweep of Sadowsky Trust affordable housing funds.

Rep. Carlos G. Smith wondered if DeSantis would veto attempts to raid that fund, but Spencer was noncommittal on that possibility.

And tax relief, including sales tax holidays, amounts to another $312 million. Spencer proceeded through environmental spending, school spending, hurricane recovery, health and human services, and other silos.

“While the economy is good,” Spencer said, “the Governor wants to do tax relief.”

Budget Chair Rep. Travis Cummings prodded Spencer on “per capita spending,” which decreases $44.70 per person to just over $4,100.

Hurricane reimbursements are another area of Cummings’ concern.

Spencer noted Gov. DeSantis has been “engaged” in “trying to speed up the process” of getting reimbursements.

“While we cut the Best and Brightest, there’s another program you’re looking at,” Cummings noted, referring to a proposed tier-based bonus system.

Full discussion of that program, however, was held off for another time.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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