Florida lawmakers are set to add nearly $670 million in spending for member projects, boosts to programs and increases in agency funds for salary hikes as part of the last step in the budget negotiations.
The supplemental funding lists, known colloquially as “sprinkle lists” from the House and Senate were agreed to Monday. The largest items were $38 million for the Department of Corrections to give bonuses to help keep guards in prisons with high vacancy rates for positions, $32.3 million for the graduate medical education program to produce more doctors and $31.8 million to increase the reimbursement rates for nursing homes.
“We are setting aside historic levels of reserves and have put forth a budget that responds to the needs of Floridians in a meaningful and responsible way,” said Rep. Tom Leek, an Ormond Beach Republican and Chair of the House Appropriations Committee.
“The supplemental list makes key investments in rural infrastructure, correctional officers, law enforcement, alternative water supply, our state court system and our universities and colleges.”
The sprinkle list is a set of supplemental funding items tacked onto the budget at the end of the negotiations. They are often member projects, but can also be used to add money to a program that one chamber sought to fund at a higher level.
“We focus on mental health initiatives as well as funding for seniors who reside in nursing homes,” Senate budget chief Doug Broxson, a Gulf Breeze Republican, said in explaining the Senate sprinkle list.
“We add to the state’s investment in hurricane relief and additional support to keep our universities No. 1 in the country and, finally, we added funds to help fiscally constrained counties pay for the safe school K-9 program.”
The agreement put the final touches on the budget, which will be made public later on Monday. The final amount is likely to be around $115 billion.
But one key program placed in the budget on Sunday is a $4 billion plan to speed up road projects around the state. Gov. Ron DeSantis had requested $7 billion for the Moving Florida Forward program.