July 1st was the start of the new fiscal year. Over 100 bills went into effect, which were passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor.
Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed an unprecedented one billion dollars in projects, including several of his own priorities, in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic. To see the 18-page list of vetoed items, go here.
Here are some of the positive highlights of the $92.2 billion budget:
- 3 percent pay raise increases for state workers
- $500 million to increase teacher salaries
- 123.2 million for Florida’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities
- $625 million for Everglades restoration and other water projects
- $100 million for the Florida Forever conservation program
- $47 million for the tax package
- $9.1 million to provide services for human trafficking victims
- $30.2 million to move approximately 640 individuals off the Agency for Persons with Disabilities waiver program
- $10 million for state-level election oversight activities, with a focus on cybersecurity enhancements to Florida’s election system.
- $27 million for the State’s military presence and families
Here are some of the items which were vetoed:
- $225 million for affordable housing (The Governor stated the funding will be offset by $250 million in federal money earmarked for rental and mortgage assistance.)
- $140.5 million in health care spending
- $28 million from prison infectious disease prevention
- $41.4 million from the school Guardian Program, which funded armed personnel in public schools
- $280,000 for the apiculture (bee) pilot program; $750,000 to promote beef products; and $1.8 million for sturgeon aquafarms
- $21 million for a planned district courthouse; $3.4 million for 10 new judgeships
- $15 million from the universities of distinction program
- $36.8 million from caregivers for the disabled; $16 million from adult day training programs
- $135 million for schools performing well in the A-F grading system
- $134.6 million for aid to local governments
- $3.8 million in cultural facilities grants; $750,000 for the Florida Humanities Council
After these cuts, Florida’s reserves will total $6.3 billion which includes an additional $300 million added by the Legislature and receipt of federal CARES Act monies. The state saw a drop in revenues of $789 million below projections in May, which was on top of the $878 million drop in April.