Republican leaders are agreeing to increase the amount of money the state will spend on health and human services programs in the coming year.
Headed into the conference process, the Senate had proposed spending $14.83 billion in general revenue in its spending bill (SB 2500) to fund programs that help the poor, elderly and disabled, as well as other health care programs. The House had proposed spending $14.68 billion in its spending bill (HB 5001).
Legislative leaders announced an agreement to spend $15.06 billion on spending across six agencies: the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Department of Health, the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Elder Affairs and the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Shakespeare said it best, ‘If money go before, all ways do lie open,’” House Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Sam Garrison told Florida Politics Monday. “We’ll see how it plays out, but it’s certainly a good problem to have.”
The $15 billion general revenue allocation is larger than any other area in the budget. In all, lawmakers agreed to spend $45.2 billion in general revenue.
The General Appropriations Act is the only must-pass bill of the year. Lawmakers will dedicate their time to finalizing a spending plan for Fiscal Year 2023-24 for the next several days.
Budget conference subcommittees will meet throughout the week to resolve differences in each area. When remaining issues reach an impasse, they will be “bumped” to the full budget conference committee.
Lawmakers must reach an agreement on a final spending plan by May 2 to meet the 72-hour “cooling off” period required by the state constitution before they can vote on the budget to avoid pushing the Regular Session past its scheduled May 5 end date.