Tolls rebate program added to $117.5B budget deal
a lot of money - a million US dollars in cash

a million bucks
The toll rebate program will last 12 months for drivers making 35 or more transactions per month.

Florida lawmakers are poised to pass a $117.5 billion budget, after last-minute negotiations that included a one-year toll rebate program and hundreds of millions of dollars in supplemental funding for member projects.

The budget (HB 5001) is for the fiscal year that begins July 1, and totals $963 million more than the current year, or less than 1%.

House Speaker Paul Renner repeatedly warned of the need to show restraint in spending, as federal COVID-19 funds expired and state revenue growth slows, but lawmakers included a $450 million toll rebate program in the final stages of budget talks.

The exact parameters of the program will be included in an amendment to the tax cut package (HB 7073) which hasn’t been made public, but should be similar to the program pushed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and passed by lawmakers in a December 2022 Special Session.

Under that plan, the toll rebate program ran for 12 months and drivers with a SunPass or other Florida-based transponder who have 35 or more toll transactions per month were eligible for a 50% rebate, which appeared as a credit to their account.

“As the timeline to spend pandemic funds is coming to end, we are making smart, fiscally-responsible adjustments and right-sizing our balanced budget to a level sustainable for the long term,” said Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, a Naples Republican.

“Our revenues are increasing, but instead of spending all of we have, we are paying down debt, setting aside historic reserves, and providing for meaningful tax relief, so Floridians can keep more of their hard-earned money.”

In other parts of the budget, PreK-12 schools will get $28.4 billion for the fiscal year that starts July 1, a $1.8 billion increase on the current year. That comes to $8,959 per student, a $240 increase on the current year. That includes a $200 million boost to teacher salaries.

“This budget continues our strong support of education in Florida,” said Sen. Keith Perry, a Gainesville Republican and the Senate’s top education budget writer. “We are increasing K-12 per student funding to an unprecedented level, including raising the base student allocation, which we know provides important, needed flexibility for our districts.”

Gray Rohrer


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