The Florida Legislature completed five of the six weeks of scheduled interim committee meetings to prepare for the 2018 Legislative Session, which begins on January 9th. One week was cancelled due to Hurricane Irma. Legislators have been preparing for the session by filing their bills and appropriations requests. To date, members have requested close to $2 billion for 1,205 projects. By the time the legislative session begins on January 9th, more than 2,500 bills may be filed.
GOVERNOR’S BUDGET RECOMMENDATIONS
Governor Rick Scott released his “Securing Florida’s Future” budget proposal for fiscal year 2018-2019 on November 14th. Highlights of the proposal include $180 million in tax and fee reductions; $3.8 billion in environmental funding; K-12 education funding of $7,497 per student (up $200 per student); over $1 billion for mental health and substance abuse initiatives; and a record $10.8 billion for transportation. Other priorities include public safety, emergency preparedness, and funding for programs benefiting veterans. The total requested budget is $87.4 billion, the largest amount ever proposed by the Governor. You may view his budget here.
While the Governor makes recommendations, the State Constitution requires the Florida Legislature to develop and pass a balanced budget each year. The Governor then may veto all or part of the budget presented to him.