Gov. Ron DeSantis’ $114.4 billion budget proposal includes $1.1 billion in tax cuts for consumers, homeowners and small business owners, as well as increased funding for economic development programs and transportation projects.
The plan is a recommendation for the 2024-25 fiscal year for the Legislature to consider in the upcoming Legislative Session, which begins Jan. 9.
The tax cut proposal would provide a one-year exemption on taxes, fees and assessments on property insurance up to $750,000, saving homeowners about $409 million. Those with flood insurance policies would save $22 million through a permanent elimination of the premium tax.
Consumers shopping during a series of sales tax holidays would also save $475 million. The back-to-school sales tax holidays — one at the start of the fall semester in August and one at the start of the Spring semester in January — would cost state coffers $169 million.
The “Freedom Summer” tax holiday lasting from Memorial Day to Labor Day would exempt sales taxes on items used for outdoor activities such as camping and fishing, saving consumers $241 million. Two disaster preparedness holidays on hurricane season items would save $49 million.
Small businesses would save $165 million under the plan, which calls for an increase in the stipend companies receive to collect and send sales taxes to the state. Businesses employing disabled workers would get another $5 million tax cut.
“By expanding workforce education for high-demand jobs, providing family-first tax relief, ensuring that Florida’s students can access a quality education that fits their needs, investing in resilient infrastructure and putting conservative principles at the forefront of every decision, we have delivered time and again for our residents,” DeSantis said in a released statement.
“Florida’s success is proof positive that when you establish a foundation of governing on conservative principles and protect the freedom of your residents, success will follow. I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish over the next year.”
DeSantis also wants more funding for a series of economic development programs in the Department of Commerce.
The Job Growth Grant Fund, which provides grants to local governments, universities and state colleges for transportation and job training programs would get $100 million under his plan, a $25 million increase on the current year. There would also be $25 million for an emergency bridge loan program and $25 million for economic incentives for businesses to relocate or expand in Florida.
“The investments we make today have long-term impacts on the future of our state and country. Fortunately, thanks to Governor DeSantis’ strong leadership, Florida continues to strengthen year after year,” Secretary of Commerce Alex Kelly said.
“Today’s Focus on Florida’s Future Budget builds on Florida’s strategic investments in workforce and infrastructure growth to further ensure that if a great company is looking for a place to do business, a mother is looking for a place to raise her family, or a college student is looking for a high-wage competitive job, choosing Florida is a no-brainer.”
The $20 million DeSantis wants for continuing his program to give recruitment bonuses to police officers to relocate to Florida would be administered by the Department of Commerce again.
The Department of Transportation would be funded at $15.6 billion, a $117 million increase on the current year. The proposal includes $5.4 billion for highway construction and maintenance; $1.9 billion for resurfacing 3,115 miles of road; $109.6 million for seaport improvements; $334.4 million for airport improvements and $381.7 million to repair and replace bridges.